Accessibility Suite Renovation

The Cause

Each year, hundreds of Calgarian women and children leave situations of domestic violence and come to Discovery House to start rebuilding their lives. These families could be your neighbours, your colleagues, classmates, or even your family or friends. Discovery House gives them a safe place to call home, programs to help them rebuild their lives, and a chance at a future free from domestic violence.

Domestic violence can happen to anyone, and factors like as age, gender, race, disability, sexual orientation, and immigrant status can increase the risk. More than half of women with a disability experience some type of domestic violence in their lifetime, and research shows that people with disabilities often experience abuse for longer periods of time because of lack of supports in the community and dependence on abusive partners for physical care and mobility. Sadly, there are not enough accessible transitional homes in Calgary for women and children with all kinds of disabilities.

We believe that every person, no matter who they are, should have an opportunity to thrive. We work with wonderfully diverse families, both in our shelter, and in the community, so we prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion in our programming and services. As part of Discovery House's capital improvement plan, we committed to making the necessary renovations and improvements to ensure that every person, regardless of their physical disability or mobility challenge, can find safety and hope in the shelter.

Our shelter has a wheelchair ramp, elevator, automatic doors at the entrance and wide hallways. However, our doorways and apartments were not accessible, so we knew we weren’t able to properly support families with accessibility needs. We conducted an Accessibility and Inclusion Audit in December 2022 and decided to upgrade one apartment in our shelter to better serve Calgarian families leaving domestic violence.

We will:
- Widen all doorways in the suite
- Adjust the height of all door handles, locks, light switches, and electrical outlets
- Lower kitchen countertops and sink (and create space beneath for wheelchairs), and add an accessible stove, oven, and other appliances
- Add shelves in kitchen cupboards and bedroom closets that can be pulled down to make them easier to reach
- Install an accessible toilet, vanity and shower with a bench and handles

Please help us give women – of all abilities – a safe place for their children to call home.

Who Will it Benefit?

Calgary’s housing crisis is affecting us all. There are not enough homes for families leaving situations domestic violence, and even fewer for families with accessibility concerns. When speaking about domestic violence, people often ask: Why didn’t she leave, and how many women go back to their abusive partners. The answers to these questions are complex, but housing plays a critical role. When families don’t have access to a safe place to stay, they are forced to make tough choices: couch-surfing, sleeping in their cars, or, even, returning to their abusive partner just to have a roof over their children’s heads.

Women can experience many types of abuse as part of domestic violence (physical, sexual, psychological, financial, emotional), but women with disabilities experience other unique types of abuse as part of their lived experience.

• Withholding/ sabotaging essential equipment, like wheelchairs
• Threatening to take their home or their children
• Making them feel like they have no skills, so they won't look for housing or a job
• Denying assistance for personal care, like using the washroom
• Withholding access health and social services

Dealing with domestic violence is already challenging for anyone, but navigating disabilities can create extra stress and pressures. With your help, by creating this accessible suite, we can ensure that finding a safe, accessible home for families to thrive, we can remove one important barrier to a life free of violence. Your support will provide a safe and dignified space that meets families’ unique needs. With your help, more Calgarian families will hear two beautiful words: “Welcome Home.”