Every year the Northern Society for Domestic Peace puts up photos of the 14 women who were killed in the Montreal Massacre on Dec 6 1989. (Marisca Bakker photo)

Every year the Northern Society for Domestic Peace puts up photos of the 14 women who were killed in the Montreal Massacre on Dec 6 1989. (Marisca Bakker photo)

Passage House reaches 30 years

The location has seen approximately 9,094 women and children since it opened on Dec. 1, 1989

The Northern Society for Domestic Peace’s (NSDP) Passage House recently turned 30.

Passage House is transitional housing for women and their dependent children who are at risk of violence or have experienced violence recently.

Dec. 1 marked 30 years since the Passage House first opened its doors to its first client in 1989.

READ MORE: Council passes two readings of second-stage housing bylaws

The transition house was first envisioned when grassroots advocates began to raise concerns about women fleeing violence needing a safe shelter in the region.

Under the lead of Nancy DeVries, who has previously sat on the Smithers Housing Task Force on behalf of Smithers Senior Citizens’ Society, negotiations were completed and funding was secured from the Ministry of Social Services to fund operations for a “six- up to ten-bed shelter.”

NSDP Executive Director Carol Seychuk said the shelter has been a foundational program for the society since it was incorporated on Feb. 2, 1993.

That was when NSDP took over the land lease and mortgage of Passage House and the associated support contracts from Smithers Community Services Association (SCSA).

Since then the location has seen approximately 9,094 women and children, according to their records.

Seychuk said 30 years later the location is still well used and provides a critical service to Smithers and its surrounding area.

“I think that people often want to stay in their communities and try to figure out what they’re going to do next,” said Seychuk.

“Providing that safety whether it be for 24 hours or for 30 days gives them those opportunities.”

The Passage House is an example of local transitional housing, which refers to housing that provides safe and secure temporary shelter in a communal setting.

Stays are typically under 30 days.

Services included at the location include crisis intervention, safety planning and response, shelter, referrals and emotional support to women and their dependent children.

READ MORE: Proceeds of crime, repurposed for good

Seychuk said another positive element of the Passage House is the sense of belonging it provides in connecting women who may be experiencing situations with overlapping features.

“I think a lot of people don’t know, they think they’re the only one and no one else understands what’s happening and I think its really important for them to have those connections.

“Often we see women who stay there but they often come back for coffee or meals or a visit or just to get more information so it’s a continuing service even after they’ve left. And making those connections can be life impacting.”

The anniversary was not the only one NSDP recently acknowledged. The society also paid homage to the 14 women killed in the École Polytechnique massacre 30 years ago on Dec. 6.

Out of respect for those killed their office on First Avenue featured displays of the women and NSDP employees handed out 14 red roses to women who stopped by the office on the same day.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C.’s public health restrictions on non-essential travel are reinforced by orders effective April 23, 2021 to stay within your own regional health authority except for essential travel such as work and medical appointmens. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 non-essential travel ban takes effect, $575 fines approved

Checks on highways, ferries between Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island, Interior

(Black Press Media files)
UPDATE: Town of Smithers lifts alert for high levels of chlorine in water

Residents are advised town water is now safe to use

Garry Merkel has been recognized for his work in culturally appropriate Indigenous education with an honourary doctorate from the University of British Columbia.
Tahltan educator recognized with honorary doctorate from UBC

Garry Merkel has dedicated his life to improving Indigenous educational outcomes

Gareth Manderson, general manager BC Works, and Bandstra’s Zach Runions and Steve Collins. Photo supplied
Smithers family-owned business institution sold to publicly-traded company

Bandstra Transportation and Babine Trucking acquired by Mullen Group

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson outlines the province’s three-year budget in Victoria, April 20, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C. deficit to grow by $19 billion for COVID-19 recovery spending

Pandemic-year deficit $5 billion lower than forecast

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

Trudeau announced target during a virtual climate summit convened by U.S. President Joe Biden

Nic Hume and his fellow paramedic stopped to rescue the victim of an Oak Bay hit-and-run – a duck – at the end of their shift Thursday morning. (Nic Hume/Facebook)
B.C. paramedics don’t duck a chance to help someone in need

Ambulance duo end a long shift by helping a distressed duck in Victoria suburb

As the snow in Manning Park melts, searchers are able to get a little farther each day. Photo submitted
Family resumes search for son missing in B.C.’s Manning park since October

‘This is our child, and we don’t give up on our children,’ said mother of Jordan, Josie Naterer

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Canada buys 65M Pfizer booster shots for protection against COVID-19 variants

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the deal with Pfizer includes options to add 30 million doses in both 2022 and 2023, and an option for 60 million doses in 2024

A plan flew over the Lower Mainland with a sign expressing some Canucks fans’ discontent with the team’s general manager. (Niqhil Velji - Twitter Screenshot)
#FireBenning movement gets off the ground in Metro Vancouver

Canucks fans raise enough money to fly banner over Metro Vancouver asking for team GM to be canned

The freed osprey keeps a wary eye on its rescuers after being deposited on its nest. (Photo credit: Greg Hiltz)
Hydro crew in Ashcroft gets osprey rescue call-out they won’t soon forget

Bird was tangled in baling wire hanging from a hydro pole, necessitating a tricky rescue

Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth speaks to media at the Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday February 5, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to announce travel restrictions today to limit COVID-19 spread

Mike Farnworth is expected to give details of what the government views as essential travel

Richard Desautel with supporters outside the courthouse in Nelson, B.C., in 2016. Photo: Bill Metcalfe
UPDATED: Sinixt, First Nation bordering Canada-U.S., can claim Indigenous rights, top court rules

The decision essentially reverses a 1956 declaration the Sinixt were extinct

Most Read