Dawn House seeks Queen’s support

Pam Havery, Dawn House Women’s Shelter’s new administrator, says the center is a valued resource for women in search of more permanent housing.
Pam Havery, Dawn House Women’s Shelter’s new administrator, says the center is a valued resource for women in search of more permanent housing.

While a 50 cent opt-outable fee may miss the attention of the average Queen’s student, according to Pam Havery, an administrator for the Dawn House Women’s Shelter, it is an essential part of the shelter’s operating budget.

“We depend on fees every year in a big way,” she said.

The opt-outable contribution totals around five thousand dollars for the shelter each year.

In addition to contributions from Queen’s, the shelter receives funding from the government, some of their residents, members who receive their newsletters, private donors and individuals and groups within the community.

These donations provide money for meals, bills, staff, as well as the general upkeep of the house. The shelter’s budget is of great concern.

“In the last three years we’ve run a deficit and not met our goal,” said Havery.

Former Mayor of Kingston and current President of the Queen’s Alumni Association Helen Cooper described the Dawn House as a part the Queen’s community and a means by which students can give back to the city of Kingston.

“[The house is] a neighbor to many students... and an excellent way for students to contribute to a better quality of life for everyone downtown.” Besides providing a comfortable environment and accommodation, the non-profit shelter offers assistance twenty-four hours a day through counselling, help in securing decent affordable housing and a crisis line. Women turn to Dawn House for many reasons, including an inability to pay for other housing, if the woman is new to Kingston or if she has recently left an institution and is in search of permanent housing.

“Dawn House is different from other emergency help shelters because it gives people breathing space before they can move on to something more permanent,” said Cooper. Dawn House has been around since December 1, 1986, and Queen’s has been a longstanding contributor to its livelihood. Some examples of contributions made by Queen’s include support from the Queen’s Women’s Centre, student volunteers, fundraisers, donations and the many graduates and professors who have sat on the board of the organization. In the past, students have also participated in spring-cleaning, painting and fashion shows to raise money for the shelter.

As the shelter’s new administrator, Havery explained that her goals are, “to meet fundraising goals and to give a facelift to the shelter.” She also noted that although there seems to be an abundance of people and organizations making contributions to the shelter, they are always looking for more volunteers. She also points out that the shelter has not been painted in seven years and new flooring is necessary. Harvey stresses that volunteers, donations, and fundraisers are all ways to help out and that meaningful contributions to the Dawn House “can be little things.”

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