About Shelters


If you want support, information, or referrals, you can call a shelter just to talk. Most shelters on this site have staff available 24/7 to answer your call. You DO NOT need to stay in a shelter to get help. On the sheltersafe.ca map, click on the shelters located in the area where you wish to find help.

Shelter workers will work with you to design supports specific to your unique needs. They will maintain confidentiality and advocate for you in the complex web of services you may need to access.

What is an Emergency Shelter/ Transition House?

It is a safe and welcoming home that accommodates women and their children when they are fleeing violence. Shelter addresses are often kept confidential so that women (and children) cannot be found. You can generally stay in these homes for 1-3 months and sometimes longer. There is no charge for you to stay there.

Shelters provide women fleeing violence with critical support services to help them make their transition to a life free of abuse. Shelter workers liaise with a number of providers in the community to help women and their children and ensure that they have counselling support and health care.

Staff and volunteers at shelters are there to listen and to offer you emotional support, information, and referrals to other services you may need such as legal, financial, medical, and housing services. In many homes, staff will help you with transportation to appointments and will ensure that children get to school. The women residents generally share household tasks and cooking.

These shelters are referred to as 1st stage on the Sheltersafe.ca map.

What are Second Stage Shelters?

Second-stage shelters provide longer-term, safe, affordable, supportive, and independent housing and some services similar to those provided in emergency shelters/transition houses. Women and their children can usually stay at a second stage shelter for 6 months to two years in independent, furnished units. Rent is geared to your income and there are generally no costs for the programs offered by the second stage house.

These shelters are referred to as 2nd stage on the Sheltersafe.ca map.


  • Driver’s licence and/or ID
  • Birth certificate (yours and your children’s)
  • Money, cheques, debit and credit cards
  • Lease, rental agreement, house deed
  • Bank book and/or bank statements
  • House and car keys
  • Social Insurance Card
  • Address book and phone numbers
  • Provincial health card, medications, medical records
  • Marriage licence, separation and/or divorce papers
  • Child custody and access papers
  • Passport, immigration or citizenship papers, status card
  • Peace bonds and/or restraining orders

If storing these items in your home puts you at risk, make copies and leave them with someone you trust.

Source: B.C. Society of Transition Houses