After closing the doors at the Eagle’s Nest Stoney family centre two years ago for renovations, officials announced earlier this week the centre will be reopening in May.
“The closure gave Eagle’s Nest Stoney Family Shelter the opportunity to review its guiding approach and operations to ensure it reflects best practice services across the province. The review will culminate in better services for Stoney Nation women, and others who use the shelter, services that are grounded in respect, dignity, and cultural safety,” said Kathryn Williams, acting director of the centre.
The shelter, for women and children fleeing violence, has been closed since April 2015 after an engineering firm assessed the facility and found a number of issues. All the recommended work was done over the two-year period, including installation of a code compliant sprinkler system, assessment of municipal water service connection, a new fire suppression system and installation of fire rated doors and walls.
Contractors also enhanced security with steel doors, metal shutters on the windows and upgrades to cameras. New paint and flooring was also done.
“The safety of women and children is paramount and this is reflected in the enhancements of the shelter, both structurally and operationally,” Williams said.
“We are looking forward to opening our doors in support of the community and working once again to decrease the incidents of family violence in the Stoney community.”
The renovations were made possible through the Shelter Enhancement Program, a capital grant from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.
“I’ve witnessed the challenges on-reserve shelters face to secure sustainable funds. The return of Eagle’s Nest marks a great achievement for the shelter’s leadership and will have a profound impact on the women and children they serve,” said Jan Reimer, executive director of Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters.
Statistics showed 68 First Nation women from Morley used the shelter in 2014-2015, as well as 31 women from other reserves. Eleven non-aboriginal women and 77 children also accessed the shelter.
For the last two years, women and children fleeing violence and abuse were referred to Awo Taan Healing Lodge and YWCA Mary Dover House – both located in Calgary.
Located on the Nation, the shelter will be available to the three Stoney bands – Bearspaw, Chiniki, and Wesley – and can accommodate 23 occupants. Referrals from Calgary shelters that are at capacity will also be accepted.
In addition to the emergency relief, the shelter will offer outreach, safety planning, advocacy, parenting support and specialized indigenous programs.
Staff for the shelter have been hired and are undergoing specialized training before the opening.
The crisis line is 403-881-2000 and will be opened May 8.
– with files from Rocky Mountain Outlook