The federal government collected written submissions on the national housing strategy which closed on October 21 on its Let’s Talk Housing website. At Battered Women’s Support Services we believe that a national strategy must include the experiences of women. Women who leave abusive relationships and go to transition houses can be forced back to violent/abusive situations due to the absence of affordable housing when the 30 days are up. Women should not have to be forced to choose between housing and abuse.
Here in Metro Vancouver the overall vacancy rate hit 0.8 per cent in 2015, down from 1.9 per cent in 2010 and vacancy for most affordable rental units is below 1 per cent and at 0.1 per cent for bachelor suites renting at less than $750 in Vancouver.
Homeless shelter occupancy has been at around 97 per cent for the past four years while more than 10,000 Metro Vancouver individuals or families are waiting for suitable housing on B.C.’s Housing Registry.
Women’s precariousness around housing if often rendered invisible and things have gotten worse for women, because more women are using shelters, making up 32 per cent of those in shelters in 2015-2016, up from 28 per cent in 2011-2012.
Without affordable housing options many women stay in abusive relationships or return to their abusive partners after leaving. At BWSS, we are working to end violence against women while providing vital support services for women survivors. This means that every day, we advocate for women to keep their housing and/or to secure housing when violence by a male partner has required her (and her children) to flee and become homeless.
Read more about the importance of housing for women and their children here: