Investing in Saving Lives: Designing Second-Stage Women’s Shelters on First Nation Reserves




Most Indigenous women in Canada (61%) experience intimate partner violence (IPV), which is significantly worse than the high rate of 44 percent for other women in Canada. Despite the great risk for IPV, only three unfunded second-stage shelters for more than 600 First Nation reserves exist in Canada to provide First Nation women and their children a safe home. Second-stage housing offers IPV survivors transitional homes for an extended period that provide safety and renewal after their initial emergency shelter stays. This article documents the need for safe, nurturing, and culturally appropriate second-stage shelters for Indigenous women and their families to heal and rebuild. The authors provide two second-stage prototype designs based on domestic environmental analysis and concepts of houselessness, home, and co-housing. We discuss how these designs are one step in an action plan to protect Indigenous women and stop the genocide of Indigenous Peoples by supporting cultural, economic, health, and social development. The literature review and design concepts form an agenda to have design goals for housing IPV survivors that answers the “Calls to Justice for Murdered and Missing Women” and expands this needed service to every reserve.


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Author Biographies

Courtney Allary, University of Manitoba

Courtney Allary is a Master of Interior Design Candidate at the University of Manitoba and Indigenous Design and Planning Student Association Executive. She was a collaborator in writing the report on second-stage housing for the National Aboriginal Circle Against Family Violence.


Shirley Thompson, University of Manitoba

Shirley Thompson, PhD, is the Mino Bimaadiziwin Partnership Principal Investigator and Associate Professor at the University of Manitoba. She had a small collaborative role in writing the report on second-stage housing for the National Aboriginal Circle Against Family Violence.

Shauna Mallory-Hill, University of Manitoba

Shauna Mallory-Hill, PhD, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Interior Design at the University of Manitoba. 




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