A Brief History of WIN House
WIN House previously known as Edmonton Women’s Shelter did not begin as a shelter for women who had suffered abuse but rather a home for transient women. It was at the downtown Greyhound station that Daisy Wilson first noticed the growing number of transient women in Edmonton. In 1968 a group of 28 organizations met to discuss the growing problem of homeless women. An action committee was formed to establish a point of contact and referral for the women.
Initially it was a storefront where women could come and rest and receive information about other social assistance organizations. There were no beds and it was not uncommon to find women sleeping upright on a stool. In 1970 this storefront was expanded and an overnight emergency shelter was opened in the basement of All Saints Cathedral. The overnight shelter had only one staff person and the women slept on floor mats. The shelter was unable to offer meals. As a result, the women depended on All Saint’s Cathedral for shelter and the YWCA for meals. It was difficult for the women to depend on several organizations in different locations.
The overnight shelter enabled the committee to keep better statistics and expand their understanding of the circumstances behind the women’s situation. It was discovered that abuse had been a factor in many of the women’s life. Based on these findings the committee adopted a mandate to serve women and children who had been victims of all forms of abuse.
On September 26th 1973 Edmonton Women’s Shelter was incorporated as a Charitable Organization. Once incorporated they began to work towards raising funds to build a shelter where women could find both food and emergency accommodations. This goal was achieved in 1978 when WIN I was opened. WIN I was able to house six families where women could escape their abusers and begin to plan their new lives. WIN II opened shortly thereafter in 1982. The establishment of WIN II doubled the capacity of the shelter by accommodating eight additional families. This increased the capacity to 14 families totaling 51 people.
From 2006 – 2009 WIN House looked for ways to expand services for women in need. WIN III opened in 2010 to help meet the needs of immigrant, refugee, and trafficked women. After a brief closure, WIN III has reopened as Carol’s House. The shelters operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.