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1 in 5 Montreal women are not safe in their own home

Over the past two years, a disturbing increase in gender-based violence has been coined the “shadow pandemic”. This is especially true in Montreal, where a recent study from the Université de Sherbrooke found that 22.5% of women in a relationship experience domestic violence. With moving day fast approaching, Shelter Movers, a local non-profit, is issuing an urgent call for volunteers to help move dozens of women and children out of abusive homes. 

“We are seeing a surge in the number of move requests as a result of the increase in gender-based violence and the current housing crisis,” says Renata Fuchs Militzer, Chapter Director, Shelter Movers Montreal Region. “We work with a number of community agencies who depend on our services. We are at risk of having to delay or cancel moves for families in crisis, due to low volunteer availability. Shelter Movers has a tremendous impact on the lives of the survivors who are counting on our services to help them transition to a safer home.”

Since September 2020, Shelter Movers Montreal Region (SMMR) has provided a fast, free and survivor-centered response to calls for help from families leaving abuse in metropolitan Montreal. With the support of volunteers, community partners, and donors, Shelter Movers has transitioned over 200 families to a life free from violence. For more information on how to volunteer or donate, visit www.sheltermovers.com.

Quick Facts

  • Between 2019 and 2020, Quebec saw a 76.9 % increase of femicides.
  • Every 2 days, a woman or girl is killed in Canada, most often by an intimate partner or family member.

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About Shelter Movers:

Shelter Movers is a national, volunteer-powered charitable organization that provides moving and storage services at no cost to survivors of abuse. It is the only service of its kind offered in Canada. We collaborate with local businesses and community agencies to support families transitioning to a life free of violence. Founded in 2016, Shelter Movers has grown at a remarkable pace, expanding to 6 locations across Canada. To date, our team of dedicated volunteers have completed nearly 4,000 moves for survivors fleeing abuse.

For more information, please contact media@sheltermovers.com or visit our website.

Moving East – Shelter Movers Ramps Up In Nova Scotia

Shelter Movers is one step closer to supporting survivors across Canada who are experiencing abuse. Shelter Movers remains the only service of its kind in Canada, we are excited to announce the launch of Shelter Movers Nova Scotia this July, 2019.

The Nova Scotia chapter marks our third expansion outside Toronto and our first in the Maritimes. Shelter Movers Nova Scotia (SMNS) will begin by serving clients in the Halifax Regional Municipality (Halifax, Dartmouth, Bedford and Sackville). The current three-year plan includes growth to serve survivors from across Nova Scotia as the chapter establishes a larger base of volunteers and staff. As SMNS grows, our sights are set on serving more rural and remote areas across the province, to ensure anyone experiencing abuse has access to our free and secure moving and storage services.

The expansion to Canada’s East Coast has been welcomed by a host of support agencies, YWCA Halifax, Alice House, Bryony House and Housing Nova Scotia, to name a few. It is our honour and privilege to work with our partner agencies to assist women through this small but critical part of their journey. As we continue to establish ourselves in the community, SMNS will strengthen its relationships with other regional women’s shelters, transition houses, and support agencies in order to serve more women experiencing abuse.

It is worth noting that Shelter Movers does not discriminate based on gender. Abuse affects all Canadians,and our services are open to all.. However, the overwhelmingly majority of our clients are women. Our priority is therefore to align with the existing violence against women sector in Nova Scotia to ensure we are meeting the needs of the group most likely to require our services.

The successful expansion to Nova Scotia has not been possible without the generous support of the business community. Our corporate partners understand that giving back to the community is part of running a smart, successful, and ethical business. A huge thank you is due to Avis Budget, Apple Storage, JOLCAR Security and Creative Curve Media Group. Their donations have given SMNS access to critical components of Shelter Movers operations, namely vehicles to complete our moves, secure storage units to store our clients’ belongings and security personnel to ensure the safety of our clients and volunteers. Please give special consideration to these local businesses in your future business or personal plans. They care about the community!

MNS would also like to extend a special thank you to Scott Wellenbach and Lisa Murphy from the J&W Murphy Foundation for their generous donations. Mr. Wellenbach has financially supported many organizations world-wide throughout his career but supporting his hometown of Halifax remains a priority. The J&W Murphy Foundation funds various social causes throughout Nova Scotia including education, art, and public health. SMNS is grateful to both Mr. Wellenbach and Ms. Murphy for recognizing the need that Shelter Movers will be filling in the community and choosing to support.

If you have any questions regarding SMNS or are interested in supporting us contact info.ns@sheltermovers.com. If you would like to volunteer and become part of our team, please reach out to volunteerns@sheltermovers.com.

Sophie Grégoire Trudeau Partners with Shelter Movers to Help End Gender-Based Violence

December 2020 Update: Sophie Grégoire Trudeau continues to partner with Shelter Movers. Watch a powerful story of a survivor and past Shelter Movers client as we reflect on the 16 Days Of Activism. In this conversation, gender-equality ambassador, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, along with domestic abuse survivor and past Shelter Movers Client, Ajoa Ayeko, and Yael Shwartz, Shelter Movers Director of Operations, come together and discuss the realities of domestic abuse, the role of Shelter Movers when it comes to leaving, and the steps we can take to help bring awareness and education to the issue. 

November 1, 2018 – Ottawa, Canada


On November 1st, 2018, volunteers at Shelter Movers Ottawa were joined by Sophie Grégoire Trudeau to support a survivor of abuse. Having previously fled to Nelson House to escape violence, the client and her children eventually reached a point where they felt able to move on to their new home. Moving can be complicated and costly. Too often, survivors face the prospect of losing everything they own when leaving an abusive relationship. Fortunately, the staff at Nelson House referred the client to access our free moving service.

Upon arrival, Sophie and our dedicated volunteers rolled up their sleeves and went to work, safely and efficiently loading and transporting our client and her belongings. Despite being Sophie’s first move, she jumped right in, grabbing boxes and a dolly, serving our client with compassion and kindness.

Empowerment was the theme of the day as volunteers worked under the direction of our client. Sophie toured Nelson House and met with residents and staff before joining Shelter Movers to unload our client’s items in her new home.

As boxes piled up and the move came to an end, Sophie and the client shared a private moment, for which the client was very thankful. This was an important day in her journey to a life free of violence. We are honoured to have been joined by Sophie and privileged to work alongside her as we assist a survivor along her critical journey. We can all play a role in ending gender-based violence.

Shelter Movers In the News...

Radio-CanadaLa saison froide inquiète des organismes communautaires
"Aidons avec des meubles travaillent main dans la main avec Shelter Movers Ottawa. Cet organisme accompagne les femmes victimes de violence conjugale et leurs enfants en offrant des services de déménagement. Il faut savoir que ces personnes quittent souvent leur domicile rapidement seulement avec quelques effets personnels."
CBC NewsCouncillor calling for state of emergency over homelessness
"Wendy Mitchell and her crew of volunteers help families escape mental, physical and financial abuse. But all too often, Mitchell says all they're really doing is delivering them from one precarious housing situation to another."
Ottawa MattersIsolation 'exactly where danger lies' for those in violent home situations: Shelter Movers Ottawa
"At a time when health and government officials are telling residents to stay home as much as possible to prevent COVID-19 spread, Shelter Movers Ottawa Director Wendy Mitchell says home can be exactly where danger lies for some."
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