Saving Bellwoods House

Former TBCA board member Liz Magner is representing the TBCA as well as St. Matthias Church on Wednesday at a city budget meeting to discuss cuts to the city’s 2012 budget that would close Bellwoods House. That’s a shelter for at-risk women located in the old rectory at St. Matthias Church at 45 Bellwoods Ave. The shelter and the community both benefit from the shelter’s location; the shelter’s eight women have the benefit of a quiet setting on a leafy street close to the park, and the community benefits from the diversity the women provide.

Liz writes: “It has been such a perfect fit for the [Bellwoods House] residents… We have found that over the years the women really appreciate the inclusiveness and the convenience to be able to a part of celebrations… The house also offers a lovely veranda and the garden for the residents’ use. I can’t think of any other set up for residents in this circumstance that offers such a peaceful and healthful atmosphere.”

The movement to save funding for Bellwoods House is attracting its share of media attention, which is great, and councillor Mike Layton is fighting to save it.

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Excerpts from the Star:

For the eight battered women of Bellwoods House, the city’s proposed budget cuts will put them back on the street, exposed to lives of homelessness and abuse they were trying to escape.

Bellwoods House, a transitional care home for women 50 or older, near Bathurst and Queen St. W., is among three shelters set to close under Mayor Rob Ford’s recommended 2012 city budget.

If approved by council, the city will save $240,000 in 2012 and $117,000 in 2013, according to the budget.

“These women need a home,” said Trinity-Spadina Councillor Mike Layton at a community meeting on Sunday. “It’s not costing the city a lot of money.”

At the meeting, held inside Saint Matthias Anglican Church, adjacent to the shelter, roughly 40 parishioners, politicians and community members listened to the emotional testimonies of Bellwoods House residents.

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