Pictured above: David Dyson, Libra House maintenance employee.

Libra House Inc. in Happy Valley-Goose Bay is an emergency shelter for women and children fleeing violence serving women/children from all over Labrador and beyond. Although their residents are safe in shelters in their communities, they are unable to leave the shelter freely without risk of their abuser finding them. Often times they do a shelter-to-shelter transfer and women from the coast are able to attend their shelter and live a freer life, obtain employment, and children can attend school without worry, etc.

Libra House Inc. provides several services to women such as in house counselling, housing applications, and connection to legal/Justice services. They also work with the RCMP and other agencies on behalf of the mothers. Recently they have also adopted a pet policy, which enables women to bring their pet with them when leaving their home and as well, provide offsite foster care for the pet until the woman is able to get on her feet and find a long-term plan for herself. They also introduced a “Harm Reduction” room. This room is located on the administrative/staff side of the building, and it allows a woman who may be intoxicated at time of assault, to be able to avail of their service without hesitation. These two changes have broken huge barriers for the women of Labrador and beyond.

The Libra House currently has 4 second stage units that house single women and children fleeing violence, 100% of their tenants are indigenous and are of the vulnerable population. The shelter is a 10-bed facility and houses women and children fleeing violence – annually approximately 98% of the women are indigenous.

Libra House Inc. has someone available to assist with the upkeep of the building and properties. Previously they have been doing what they can as a staff, however between their regular duties and the inexperience in the area, they have not been very successful completing many of the tasks.

They also had trouble with general snow clearing around their property. The single staff on shift had to exit the safety of the building during snowstorms to clear safe exit paths around the building as well as emergency exits. This posed a risk of staff injury and resident injury (slip and fall).

As well, they are also a handicapped accessible building – but due to lack of consistent snow clearing residents in wheelchairs had greater issues entering and exiting the building.

Thanks to the recent grant awarded from the IGA, Libra House was able to construct a new maintenance shed, where their new maintenance employee can work, and store any necessary equipment, needed to maintain the outside and inside of their building!