Making the decision to leave an abusive situation can be hard, but figuring out how to leave can be even harder. If you’re thinking of leaving an abusive relationship or know someone who needs help, there are local Indigenous-focused programs that can help. Check out the list below for free or low-cost assistance with housing, legal services, counseling and more:
Aboriginal Mother Centre Society: Located in the east end of Vancouver, this society serves to address the needs of Indigenous women while providing counseling, advocacy, education, and other social supports. Some of the services the Aboriginal Mother Centre Society offers are:
- Transformational Housing: Offers 16 newly renovated suites for women and up to three of their children under the age of nine who are at risk of homelessness or child welfare intervention.
- Family Wellness Program: Available through Transformational Housing, this program gives women the skills they’ll need when they transition out through workshops on parenting, housing and resources, self-care, and other life skills.
- Licensed Daycare: Staffed by experienced and qualified Early Childhood Educators with a focus on Indigenous culture, values, tradition, and language. Children of all backgrounds are welcome.
- Homelessness Outreach: Designed to support Indigenous individuals and families at risk of/experiencing homelessness seek further employment or education. This program provides assistance by helping search for housing and offering resources for mental health and addiction counseling.
- Legal Assistance: The Indigenous Community Legal Clinic provides free legal services to the Indigenous community as well as legal education to Allard School of Law students. Open from 8:30AM – 12:30PM and 1:30PM – 4:30PM daily, the Clinic aims to provide advice, assistance, and representation on issues including (but not limited to) family law matters and child protection to eligible clients who cannot afford a lawyer and who self-identify as Indigenous persons.
Helping Spirit Lodge Society: HSLS addresses the issues of Indigenous family violence in the Greater Vancouver community by providing several different housing options as well as therapeutic services such as counseling.
Housing programs include:
- Journey Home Program: A range of services to help individuals and families access and maintain permanent housing. Once housing is obtained, this program provides wrap-around services including emergency living expenses and housing support funds, community connections, one-on-one case management, and more.
- Spirit Lodge Transition House: A 10-bed transition house that can accommodate women and their children for up to 30 days. The lodge is a safe space free of drugs or alcohol, staffed 24 hours, and provides non-judgmental support from Indigenous women as well as referrals to specialized counseling and addiction treatment.
- Spirit Way: A second stage housing program with 14 fully-furnished units where women and children can stay for up to 18 months. While fostering a safe environment, Spirit Way encourages women’s independence through supportive programming which helps residents gain skills and confidence.
- Kingsway Sierra: A 36-unit mixed market rental facility at Kingsway and Dumfries with priority social housing for Indigenous women at risk of homelessness.
Women Against Violence Against Women (WAVAW): Trauma-informed feminist support for people experiencing sexualized violence. Services are open to people of marginalized genders, including cis and transwomen, Two-Spirit, trans and non-binary people. Programs offered by WAVAW are free and confidential, including:
- Indigenous Counselling: WAVAW’s Indigenous Counselling Program provides one-to-one counselling for Indigenous people of marginalized genders, including trans and cis women, as well as trans, non-binary, and Two Spirit people seeking health, wellness, and safety. Counseling incorporates Aboriginal healing approaches and traditions based on the Medicine Wheel, which focus on spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical balance.
Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre: A safe space in the Downtown Eastside exclusively for self-identified women and their children. The Centre addresses immediate and crisis needs, such as food, clothing, toiletries, toilet and showers, first aid, computer and phone access, and more.
- Indigenous Women’s Project: 70% of the women accessing the Centre’s services are Indigenous – that’s why this program works with women to develop and implement cultural, recreational, social, and Indigenous educational activities. Offering activities such as Indigenous plant walks, outings and counseling for Indigenous women, the project provides emotional support to women dealing with residential school trauma, cultural isolation, racism, and violence.
About Shelter Movers
Shelter Movers provides no-cost moving and storage services to people leaving violence. By working with local businesses like trunk rental companies, storage facilities, and private security firms, Shelter Movers takes care of financial and safety needs that arise when moving.
Shelter Movers serves clients who have either found a space in a shelter or who are already living in a shelter or safe home.
For those who don’t have a place to go yet, please contact the local support line for BC at 211.
For those who have a shelter space, have the shelter contact Shelter Movers at email@example.com or 855-203-6252 and include a call back number for a referral to discuss move needs.
If you are in immediate danger, dial 911 or your local police service now.