Frequently Asked Questions
Want to learn more about our services? Check out our FAQs below.
Can’t find the answer to your question? Reach us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: These responses aim to provide general guidance, and may change without notice.
We serve clients who have either found a space in a shelter and are ready to leave an abusive relationship or who are already living in a shelter or safe place. If you do not yet have a place to go, contact your local support line:
Ontario: 1-866-863-0511 (TTY: 1-833-286-9865)
British Columbia: 211
Nova Scotia: 1-855-225-0220
New Brunswick: 506-388-4357
If you have a shelter space, have the shelter contact your local chapter and we will reply within a few hours to discuss your move needs.
If you feel you are in immediate danger, dial 911 or your local police service now.
Yes, we provide moving and storage services at no cost.
We do our best to help clients gather and transport their belongings, and usually will be able to move everything, but there are limits to how many vehicles and volunteers we can muster for a move. We will do our best to meet the needs of the move with our available resources.
We’re happy to help survivors of abuse get to safety. The best use of our resources tends to be when moving items, but we are open to helping clients who have no belongings. Contact your local chapter to start the discussion on how we can help.
We are happy to transport children who are accompanied by the client on low risk moves. However, on medium and high risk moves, we ask that you make alternate childcare arrangements, for safety reasons. We have access to car seats and booster seats, as needed.
We are happy to transport pets who are accompanied by the client. We do expect you to be able to provide an appropriate pet carrier for transporting your pet, as we do not have access to pet carriers. Please be aware that not all shelters will allow pets, but we are partnered with a local pet fostering agency that we can connect you with if you are interested.
For the safety of our volunteers and clients, we will not move:
- Illicit substances
- Large sums of money ($10,000 or more)
Depending on the perceived risk involved in a move, we will engage law enforcement to keep the peace during a move. However not all moves require police escort. On certain occasions, we’ll use our private security personnel instead, or no escort if the risk level is deemed as low.
Please head to our ‘Request a Move’ page to find the appropriate email for the region your client is located in and reach out to us, we will provide you with an Intake Form to fill out so we can process the move request.
In our intake form, we will ask questions relating to the following:
- Security risks (status of ex-partner; presence of children)
- Quantity and type of items to be moved
- Addresses (pick-up and drop-off)
- Preferred dates and time for the move
- Approximate locations of each stop
Yes, we have access to trauma-informed language interpreters who can support both over the phone or in-person on the day of the move.
We serve all populations, regardless of faith, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender identity as long as they are moving because of violence or abuse.
We can transport persons under 18 years of age if they are accompanied by their legal guardian. However we cannot take on clients who are under 18 themselves.
No. We serve all survivors of violence or abuse, regardless of faith, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender identity. Clients must be referred to us by a shelter or social service agency.
We ask that you include a range of dates of at least 3 move dates (a preferred date AND at least 2 alternate dates) when requesting our services We will try to accommodate your client’s preferred date, but due to multiple move requests and a limited amount of volunteers, we can’t guarantee that we’ll be able to provide that date.
We can never guarantee a move date at the intake stage. Once we send the confirmation email stating that the intake is complete to you, the Move Coordinator will get in touch with the client and further discuss and confirm the move date (based on our volunteers’ availability).
We encourage you to work with your client to gather all of the information needed to complete the intake form. You may submit a partially completed form, but we will eventually require the entire intake form to be completed in order to proceed to the next stage.
We do not accept self-referrals. If a prospective client reaches out to your organization who is interested in using Shelter Movers, you or a staff member at your organization will need to submit an intake form as a referral. Please do not direct them to contact us directly. Unfortunately SM policy states that a client must be referred by an agency. If a client calls us to self-refer we will redirect them back to you.
We are always updating our intake form to reflect new processes! To make sure you are always using the most up to date version please use the below link to submit a referral as it updates as the form does.
Depending on the risk level, we may be able to have someone step in on the day of the move on behalf of the client. This may be their caseworker or a family member, for example. Once you’ve completed the intake process for your client’s move, the Move Coordinator will discuss this with your client.
We’ll try our best! Because we’re volunteer powered it takes some time to recruit volunteers. On average, a move takes a minimum of a few days to coordinate and sometimes longer at the end/beginning of the month when we’re especially busy. We will prioritize moves based on urgency due to safety and based on referral order. The more notice you can provide for your client’s move the higher the chance is we can make it happen.
If we can’t accommodate your client’s preferred move date due to capacity, we recommend looking for a reputable mover in your region through the Canadian Association of Movers (CAM): https://www.mover.net/find-a-mover.
Shelter Mover’s operates as a free moving and storage solution organization only to persons fleeing violence/abuse. While we understand there are other vulnerable populations that could utilize a service like ours, we at Shelter Movers are mandated to help those transitioning to a life free from violence.
We recommend looking for a reputable mover in your region through the Canadian Association of Movers (CAM): https://www.mover.net/find-a-mover.
We offer a list of volunteer positions, depending on your skill-set and interests. Our main areas include:
- Moving and driving
- Move Coordination
- Event Planning
- Donor relations
- Marketing and Communications
- Information Technology
While there may be a chance volunteers will encounter the client’s ex-partner, we adhere to strict policies and procedures to ensure our volunteers and clients are safe – before, during and after each move. We also work closely with private security and law enforcement, who accompany volunteers and clients.
Given potential risks involved in some of what we do, volunteers must be 18 or older to join us.
Bringing someone to us is easy, visit our Get Involved page and let us know your preference. We will interview and register them right away. We’ll do our best to make it happen.
Unlike most organizations, our volunteers contribute as much time as they want, with no minimum. When requests for our services are received, a call-to-action is sent by email to our volunteers. If you can help, simply reply! On average, a move takes approximately 4 hours to complete, but can vary depending on the complexity and number of items to move.
Beyond seeing the immediate and lasting impact of our work, volunteering puts you in touch with a community of engaged, like-minded people. We offer ongoing training opportunities to help our people grow their knowledge of the needs and experience of survivors of abuse.
We use unmarked vehicles that do not require a special license to drive. If you haven’t driven a cargo van before, we’ll take you for a few practice trips to get you comfortable.
Like all volunteers, we will conduct a phone interview with you. A mandatory volunteer orientation is offered so you can learn about our work and what to expect.
The Board meets every 4-6 weeks for approximately 2 hours. The current Board functions primarily to provide governance direction to the Executive Director rather than involving itself in operational matters.
Absolutely. Our move schedules are dependent on the availability of our clients. Thus, there are not regular shifts that you are required to sign up for.
Our movers need to be able to lift a minimum of 20lbs. If that isn’t possible, we have a variety of other operational positions that may suit your skills.
We welcome all volunteers to join our community. Please email us at email@example.com to inquire about other volunteer opportunities we offer.
Your safety and security are our top priorities. In addition to working with private security personnel and law enforcement, we have developed protocols and policies that ensure a reduced risk for volunteers and clients. Mandatory training and education are provided to help inform our volunteers on potential risks, and how to work with their Move team to prevent and manage risk situations.
Visit our donations page. All online donations are processed securely through canadahelps.org.
We rely on the kindness of those who share our vision for labour, staff and financial support. To support our mission, please visit our donations page.
No. We’re a privately run, incorporated charitable foundation. Our Canada Revenue Agency business number is #776372492RR0001.
No. We serve all populations, regardless of faith, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender identity.
Yes, for donations totalling at least $25.00 annually.
More than 95% of your donation goes to serving clients. We operate with low administrative costs and work hard to ensure your donation goes to those we serve.
While any and all donations and contributions are appreciated, a move costs approximately $250. Costs include truck rentals, insurance and packing materials. This service is 100% free for our clients.
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will promptly send you our local mailing address.
Yes, we have logos, videos, photos to accompany all interviews. Please contact our Marketing & Communications Director at email@example.com, with “MEDIA REQUEST” in the subject line to ensure a quick response.
Yes. Please contact our Marketing & Communications Director at firstname.lastname@example.org, with “MEDIA REQUEST” in the subject line to ensure a quick response.