Dzee Ba’yugh Safe House in Burns Lake opened its doors to the public starting March 1 and has been running at full capacity ever since.
On Dec. 6, a grand opening ceremony for the Dzee Ba’yugh Safe House, meaning ‘heart house’ in Carrier dialect was held; however, the shelter was not opened for the public. Supervisor Cindy Admas had said at that time that the shelter would be opened as soon as the centre was fully staffed.
Last week, Adams told Lakes District News that the centre has been open since March 1.
“We’ve been very busy; we have been running at full capacity,” said Adams.
Carrier Sekani Family Services (CSFS) is responsible for the $2 million shelter that is located in Lake Babine Nation’s Woyenne community, adjacent to Burns Lake. The shelter has a total of six bedrooms however, each bedroom is preferablt shared between a family, instead of between different women.
“We can accommodate victims of domestic violence whenever possible however, we do give preference to family violence so would look to accommodate a woman and her children,” said Adams.
Adams also said that while the emergency shelter portion of the centre allows for women to stay up to 30 days, the centre recognizes the lack of accommodation in the North and has therefore a transition portion for the shelter as well. This transition portion can allow a woman and her children to live at the shelter for up to a year.
The shelter provides the families with meals but the rooms are equipped with a mini-fridge and women are allowed to bring in their own stuff as well.
“In light of Covid, we have definitely seen an increase in domestic and family violence,” said Adams, adding that in case women show up when the centre is at full capacity, they try to find some other alternatives for them.
“If someone shows up say, in the middle of the night, we have cots that we can set up in the common areas and then they can stay the night and will have to look for alternatives the next day and such, but we always try to find something, some help for such women,” she said.
Although the shelter works on referrals, if women self-refer they can call the centre at 778.924.0004.