Many women in Calgary are privately struggling with income, housing and food insecurity, and other critical basic needs issues. At the Women’s Centre we believe all women must have their basic needs met.
The Women’s Centre offers women quick access to emergency food, personal care supplies and bus tickets. We provide referrals to other agencies for food, clothing, furniture, housing, health, employment, education and recreation. In addition, when women (and their children) visit the Centre, they are offered hot drinks, baking and fresh fruit, free of charge.
We are an ongoing source of information, support and advocacy. Our services are offered for free by trained volunteers.
Our Services Include:
Women call or come in to the Centre with a range of questions or concerns. A woman may come in, know exactly what she is looking for and ask for specific information about our programs or other programs in the city. Or, she may phone, not knowing what to do, where to turn or what her options are. In these situations, and all those in between, peer support volunteers help women by listening, providing support, helping sort out issues, exploring options and providing information to inform her decisions.
We refer women to other programs and agencies for a wide range of support. They include, but are not limited to: food, clothing, furniture, housing, utilities, eyeglasses, haircuts and education and employment assistance.
Almost 60% of women using the Women’s Centre report that they are now, or have been, in a violent relationship. We do safety planning with women in potentially dangerous situations and work with other agencies addressing violence.
Legal Advice Clinic
Volunteer lawyers provide free, half-hour, legal advice sessions to women. The Women’s Centre’s legal advice clinic is aimed at providing women with the preliminary information and support they may need to access the legal system. The clinic addresses family and other types of law, but not criminal law. All women are welcome, but appointments are required.
At the Women’s Centre, women can access information on resources and services, women’s issues and upcoming events.
Computer and Equipment Use
Women have free access to computers with internet, a photocopier, a fax machine, and telephones. Women often use these to prepare themselves for work opportunities, for school work and for keeping connected to family and friends. We provide a mailing address for women without mailing addresses, and we can also take phone messages for women.
Volunteers prepare taxes for low income women. While doing the taxes they provide information on how to access associated benefits such as GST rebate, Canada child tax benefit and provincial child health benefits. We also assist with other forms.
Mothers and primary caregivers can come in around their children’s birthday (with the child’s ID) and during the Christmas holidays to choose gifts.
Basic Needs Assistance
More than 90% of the women who access our services are dealing with poverty. To the best of our ability, we assist women with emergency needs. Our Emergency Fund helps women in crisis with items such as bus tickets and emergency food hampers. Please note: our resources for crisis assistance are limited.
Good Food Box Depot
Women can order, pay and pick up their Good Food Boxes at the Centre. The boxes consist of low-cost seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables.