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Songs For Shelter Returns To Canmore

YWCA Banff has seen a 250% increase in crisis calls since 2020

In the Bow Valley, the YWCA Banff is a beacon for women and children seeking support and shelter from domestic abuse.

The Y fills a critical gap, and the demand for its services is increasing. The number of crisis calls the organization receives has increased by two and half times since 2020.

Between 2021 and 2022, the YWCA provided 669 shelter nights to community members experiencing violence and 739 bed nights to those facing homelessness or housing insecurity.

The need for domestic violence shelters in the Bow Valley may come as a surprise to some. According to Mike Petroff, a local folk musician and Songs For Shelter organizer, many people need to be aware of Bow Valley shelters.

“People have come up to me and said, ‘I didn’t even know there was a (women’s) shelter in the Bow Valley; I didn’t know it was necessary,’” Petroff told the Rocky Mountain Outlook.

Songs For Shelter is an event organized by YWCA Banff that features a night of songs and storytelling to raise awareness and funds for domestic abuse services and programs.

a picture of Mike Petroff, Gord March and Pat Sullivan performing at the Songs for Shelter event playing guitar and singing into a microphone
Mike Petroff, Gord March, and Pat “Sully” Sullivan perform at Songs for Shelter in Canmore | Aryn Toombs/Rocky Mountain Outlook

Since 2016, the event has raised almost $25,000. Funds have gone toward the Bow Valley Women’s Emergency Shelter and Transitional Housing in Banff.

However, YWCA Banff will fund its Bow Valley Higher Ground Project this year.

The project seeks to build a new shelter in Canmore that will offer services that address domestic and sexual violence in the Bow Valley.

This included transitional housing, services for children, violence prevention programs, and counselling.

“Higher Ground is larger than just sheltering…It’s about a space for folks to have extended periods and permanent periods of safety, not just for temporary refuge,” commented Ebony Rempel, CEO of YWCA Banff.

This is the sixth edition of Songs For Shelter and will take place tonight at the Canmore Golf and Curling Club. Since its inception, the event has sold out every year.

With performances from local musicians Pat “Sully” Sullivan, Mike Petroff, and Gord March, we aren’t surprised!

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