Since its inception in 1974, the Victoria Women’s Transition House Society has grown from a small collective running a drop-in centre to an organization with five facilities, over 50 staff and close to 70 volunteers.

The Victoria Women’s Transition House Society was born from the Victoria Women’s Centre. This organization grew out of the objectives of the University of Victoria Women’s Caucus and the Status of Women Action Group. The Women’s Centre was planned and initiated by a group of six women, with funding from a federal grant. From May 1971 until September 1972, a drop-in, referral and resource centre was operated for the Victoria community.

The first emergency shelter opened in 1974 and was located in an older home which eventually became much too small and in need of repair to meet the needs of women leaving abusive relationships. In September 1991, after several years of intensive fundraising which included generous donations from service, church and community groups, as well as funding from GO BC Lottery Funds, various Foundations and Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, a new $500,000 facility was opened.

In 1994, with growing programs and a bigger staff, Transition House identified a need for a public office. This dream became a reality after a private estate left Transition House a significant legacy enabling us to purchase the Cedar Hill Community Office in 1996. Transition House assumed a short-term mortgage but with the generous contribution of another private estate, the mortgage was retired in 1997, ensuring that the services offered at the Cedar Hill site would be continued into the future.

As a public community outreach site, the Community Office was an important addition to Transition House. It now houses the Children Who Witness Abuse/PEACE Program, the Stopping the Violence Program, Senior Women’s Programming and administration staff. The space is also used for volunteer training, Board, staff, team and volunteer meetings, and operating the Christmas Hamper Program.

Transition House has grown to over 50 staff including relief workers, working in all programs and sites of the agency. In addition to staff, Transition House has 70 volunteers working in many different programs:

Just over 60% of Transition House funding is provided by BC Housing, the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General, and the Ministry for Children and Family Development. Fundraising activities, private and community donations, grants and foundation funding provide for the remaining 40% of our core service and counselling programs. Supporters include the Provincial Employees’ Community Services Fund, family and corporate foundation, and hundreds of individual donors, families, businesses, organizations, foundations, churches, unions, employee groups, and other groups. Individuals and community groups regularly donate food and other much needed items as well. A generous community has provided wonderful support to the organization for over 40 years. Thank you!

“I feel like my life is just starting…I really don’t know what I would have done if I hadn’t found this place.”

– Third Stage Housing resident

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