A grant from the federal government allowed the Elizabeth Fry Society of Nova Scotia to go ahead with its long-standing dream to open a second-stage house for homeless women.
The money allowed the society to add to the sprawling three-storey house in Dartmouth and to decorate and furnish eight bedrooms. The first floor of the residence is also home to the charity, whose goal is to fight for better conditions for women in conflict with the law and those at risk.
“Literally, some of our women come here with the clothes on their back,” said Lynn Yetman, an in-house support worker.
Since Holly House opened a year ago, about eight women have stayed there. Right now, about six live on site. They are required to pay rent and may stay up to two years.
The society is still, however, fighting stigma in the community amongst some who confuse it with a halfway house. Yetman says it’s completely different.
“(The women) have to want to come here,” she said. “They are all somebody’s daughter, mother, sister, friend. All of us go through a hard time at some point in our lives.”