It is becoming more and more difficult for women who are victims of domestic violence to find a place in the resources, most of the houses being already at capacity at a time when the requests for accommodation are increasing.
At the Maison de Connivence in Trois-Rivières, all the beds are occupied. Almost no rooms have been vacant for the past year.
“We had periods of calm, something we haven’t really seen for more than a year,” argued the coordinator at the Maison de Connivence, Geneviève Marchand.
The resource always reserves a room for more urgent situations, where a victim should be received as quickly as possible for their safety. When this room is already taken, it is necessary to enlarge from the inside with temporary installations.
“For example, in the games room we will install a bed and the next day we will try to find another option,” assured Ms. Marchand.
The situation is the same everywhere in the province. The Fédération des Maisons d’Hébergement pour Femmes (FMHF) is also continuing discussions with the Ministry of Health and Social Services to create new places in each of the regions.
“Precisely because we are unable to respond adequately,” underlined the general manager, Manon Monastesse.
The number of workers in aid resources should also be doubled, according to the Regroupement des Maisons pour les Femmes Victimes de Violence Conjugale (RMFVVC). Otherwise, they sometimes find themselves alone to meet the needs of the residents, but also of the crisis line.
“If there is a woman who is in crisis and the phone rings, you have to say: your crisis has to wait a little bit because I have to go answer the phone. It means that we are never 100% in the service we provide, ”illustrated the president of the RMFVVC, Chantal Arseneault.
Recruitment of personnel has also been slow for the past few years. The work is not the most attractive, explained Ms. Arseneault.
“It’s a demanding job. It’s 365 days, it’s day, evening, night, ”added Ms. Monastesse.
Despite this, the teams are sufficient at the RMFVVC to offer the services as they can.
The housing crisis can even become an obstacle for victims trying to find new housing. The vacancy rate in Trois-Rivières is less than 1%, so the search will take longer. The time spent in a safe house will also be extended, explained Ms. Marchand.
Nearly 8,000 requests were refused by FMHF resources for the year 2019-2020. Last year, it had nearly 6,000 because of the lack of places.
If accommodation is not immediately possible, the resources can still provide advice and offer support to the victims.