Shelter Movers Waterloo Region (SMWR) officially celebrated the launch of our chapter during a virtual event on January 21st. Among the attendees were community partners, business owners, volunteers, and several politicians including the Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth (and MP for Waterloo), Bardish Chagger, MP for Cambridge, Bryan May, and MP for Kitchener-Conestoga, Tim Louis. During the hour-long event, guests had the chance to learn about Shelter Movers’ service, the current need in Waterloo, and hear from various guest speakers, including a survivor of intimate-partner violence.
Shelter Movers has extended to the Waterloo Region for various reasons; Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge was rated as the least safe place for women to live among Canada’s 26 metropolitan regions. Our launch event detailed some of the specifics regarding gender-based violence: The rates of sexual assault and intimate partner violence reported to the police in Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge were among the highest of large cities in Canada, while the rate of criminal harassment targeting women was also the highest. Marc Hull-Jacquin, Founder and Executive Director of Shelter Movers, described the launch of the service Waterloo as a way to “recognize the inherent dignity of everyone in our community.” SMWR is filling a much-needed gap in the region.
During the Pandemic
The COVID-19 Pandemic has led to the identification of the “shadow pandemic“, which refers to increased rates of intimate-partner violence, specifically during lockdown measures. Now more than ever, Shelter Movers is supporting members of the community.
Bryan May, MP for Cambridge, eloquently described the need for Shelter Movers’ service,
The pandemic affects families in different ways, and we are fortunate that our chapter is up and running during this time of great need in the community.
A Client’s Experience
One of Shelter Movers’ former clients spoke at the launch event to share her story. We were fortunate enough to hear her experiences with gender-based violence and how she “made survival and hope her priority” with Shelters Movers at her side. The Survivor described her difficult experiences finding housing, “the housing crisis hits harder when you’re in crisis,” continuing to explain Shelter Movers’ role in her journey. We want to thank our guest speaker for her courage in sharing her story.
Our launch event was a huge success thanks to the Waterloo Community and their amazing support. We thank them for kindly welcoming our chapter to the Region.
As SMWR continues to grow and serve more clients, we are eager for new volunteers to join our team. If you’re interested in volunteering with us and making a lasting impact in your community, please visit our chapter page.