Shelters of the Future Conference


Rowan House Society Brings Voice to Shelters of the Future Conference
Local emergency shelter presents at 1st National Conference of Women’s Shelters in Ottawa

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High River, AB, June 12, 2018 – Rowan House Society is making its voice heard at a conference being put on by Women’s Shelters Canada June 13-15, 2018. The conference is the first of its kind in Canada, providing an opportunity for crisis and transitional housing shelter staff to come together to make a difference for women and children affected by domestic violence.

“It’s a great opportunity for us to network and learn from our sister shelters and see how they are doing things across the country,” said Rowan House Executive Director, Sherrie Botten. “We are also excited to be one of the shelters to present on our work.” Botten is slated to present on Removing Barriers to Service: The Journey to a Trauma Informed Practice and The Impact of Second Stage Housing Services, while Janna, Children’s Program Team Lead, will be co-presenting as part of an Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters (ACWS) committee on The Healing Brain: How Children’s Programs Can Improve Effectiveness Through Integrating Brain Science.

Attendees will also be working to affect real change. “Being that the conference is in Ottawa,” explained Botten, “We will have the chance to meet with ministers involved in Housing, Justice, Immigration, Indigenous Affairs, Finance and the Status of Women, to discuss challenges facing the domestic violence services sector.”

Rowan House’s attendance at the conference was made possible through a Government of Alberta Status of Women community grant.

Rowan House’s mission is to provide crisis intervention, long-term support and education for those affected by family violence in rural communities. In doing so, we work to fulfill our vision: that every person is safe and secure and lives without abuse.

For more information contact:
Sherrie Botten
Executive Director,
C: 403-990-7594

Give the Gift of Soup

Soup Sisters and the Millarville Racing and Agricultural Society have teamed up to make soup for Rowan House Emergency Shelter.

Come enjoy an afternoon filled with lively conversation, chopping, laughter and warm kitchen camaraderie that culminate in a simple, sit-down meal of soup, salad, bread and wine for all participants. Each event produces approximately 200 servings of fresh soup that goes directly to Rowan House where it is enjoyed by residents, Outreach clients and Healthy Relationship Group participants.

Turn your next team building event or social gathering into a do good, feel good activity!

Upcoming Dates:

September 30, 2018
November 18, 2018
January 27, 2019
March 3, 2019
May 26, 2019

All events run from 1-4pm at the Millarville Race Track

For more information or to book a soup making event contact

Soup Sisters charges a $55 participation fee per person to cover the expenses of ingredients for the soups, the venue and equipment. This ensures that the best ingredients possible are used every time for the soup we provide to women, children and youth.

January/February 2018 Newsletter

Rowan House Society’s latest newsletter is ready for your reading pleasure.

Inside this issue: Bookings are now open for our new Leading Program, we are looking for people to fill both a volunteer and job posting, and there's many exciting events coming up to take part in.

Never miss an issue by subscribing to our Friends of Rowan House E-Newsletter below.

November is Family Violence Prevention Month


Emergency Shelter looking to public to #LaceUpForRowanHouse
and start conversations about domestic violence

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High River, AB, October 25, 2017 – Rowan House Society is expanding on its annual Purple Ribbon Campaign in an effort to get the public talking more about domestic violence. This year, Foothills residents are encouraged to pick up a pair of free purple shoelaces and wear them for the month of November to show their solidarity in supporting women and children affected by family violence.

“We are looking to move from a visual statement on the street to something that creates conversations in homes, businesses and schools,” explains Rowan House Executive Director, Sherrie Botten. “It is our hope that if people notice someone wearing these bright coloured laces, they might get asked about them and be able to start a dialogue on why they chose to take a stand against gender-based violence.”

The Society is using the hashtag #LaceUpForRowanHouse so people who are wearing the shoelaces can share their stories and pictures on social media. They can also add a temporary Facebook Frame to their profile pictures.

Regular purple ribbons and information cards will also still populate the downtown streets of High River and Okotoks as they have the last few years.

Botten says it’s going to be a very busy month for staff at Rowan House. “In addition to making the public more aware about domestic violence happening in our community, we’re giving them many opportunities to learn more about what it is exactly, how it affects families and what we all can do about it”.

Free DV 101 and Leading Change workshops will be offered throughout the month, as well as a free screening of the prize-winning documentary, “A Better Man” – where 20 years after fleeing an abusive relationship, filmmaker, Attiya Khan confronts her abuser, Steve, who agrees to talk about their past on camera, creating a unique dialogue on domestic violence.

Full details for all events can be found at

Shoelaces can be picked up at Sun Country 99.7 studios in High River, while supplies last.

Rowan House’s mission is to provide crisis intervention, long-term support and education for those affected by family violence in rural communities. In doing so, we work to fulfill our vision: that every person is safe and secure and lives without abuse.

For more information contact:
Ally Cramm
Community Relations Coordinator
D: 403-603-5999 (Tues-Fri)

September/October 2017 Newsletter

Rowan House Society’s latest newsletter is ready for your reading pleasure.

Inside this issue: New developments in Transitional Housing, details on how to support Rowan House in the Aviva Community Fund Contest and preparations for Family Violence Prevention Month.

Never miss an issue by subscribing to our Friends of Rowan House E-Newsletter below.

Defining Homelessness in the Face of Domestic Abuse

The Alberta Council of Women's Shelters (ACWS), together with 16 of its members (including Rowan House), have published a report on second-stage shelters. It includes recommendations that government can implement to address homelessness related to domestic abuse. Below is a media release from ACWS explaining the importance of this report.

Media Release
August 30, 2017

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Report: Invest in women’s shelters to solve women’s homelessness

EDMONTON, AB–The Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters together with sixteen of their members have published a report: A Safe Path Home, based on their collaborative work over the last two years. The report highlights the work of second-stage women’s shelters in Alberta and provides practical recommendations that government can implement to support women and children who have become homeless due to domestic abuse.

Jan Reimer, ACWS Executive Director, says current definitions of homelessness need to change: “When women flee violence at home, they are homeless. These women may not fit into traditional understandings of homelessness, but when the choice they face is between violence at home, the risk of violence on the streets or in homeless shelters, plus the risk of losing their children to foster care or to their abuser – it is clear their need is acute.” 

Reimer said she would like to see Alberta housing services follow the example of other provinces that give special priority to victims of domestic violence. British Columbia, for example, has a priority placement housing program for women fleeing violence — and second-stage women’s shelters are built into their housing strategy. 

“The fact is, current affordable housing and homeless shelters are not always tailored to support women and children fleeing violence,” Reimer said. “Second-stage women’s shelters are the only long-term housing supports that offer their expertise in creating safety from domestic abusers, trauma and violence informed care, wrap-around supports and specialized children’s programming.”

Provincial funding announced in 2015 allowed second-stage women’s shelters to significantly strengthen their service offerings (all but two shelters previously operated without any government funding at all). Shelters were able to develop new programs, increase the scope of outreach services, hire child trauma counsellors and expand child-focused services. Ongoing investment will be needed to sustain these changes. 

Second-stage shelters can boast some strong outcomes based on recent data. At the end of their stay in shelter, 87% of women were able to achieve progress towards their goals and over 80% were satisfied with services they received. While a staggering 67% of women were homeless upon entering shelter, only 9% were moving into unstable housing/homelessness upon exiting. More than half of women (55%) were moving into stable housing at the end of their stay.

[BC Housing Priority Placement Program:]


Read the report: A Safe Path Home

Community Host Homes Recruitment

Each year, Rowan House Society provides crisis emergency services to over 200 women with children fleeing domestic violence.  These women live in our communities - Okotoks, High River, Black Diamond, Turner Valley, Claresholm and all surrounding areas.  All too often, these women and children return to the abusive home when they leave the emergency shelter because there is nowhere else for them to go.

Rowan House is developing a new program, called Community Host Homes, to address this problem.  The program involves community members opening their homes to women and children leaving domestic abuse, providing them with a safe and stable place to reside as they transition to independent and violence free lives in the community.

This program is being developed to be flexible while ensuring the needs of both the hosts and hosted families are met.  Training will be provided to the host homes, families will be matched according to specific needs and, both the host and hosted families will be supported by Rowan House staff.

Rowan House needs your help to make this program a success.

If you would like to learn more about this opportunity to serve people in your community, please contact Brigitte Baradoy at 403.850.0585 or

Rowan House Launches New Branding and Website


Society uses frustrating situation to focus on exciting things that lay ahead for the organization

Rowan House is more than just an emergency shelter

Rowan House is more than just an emergency shelter

High River, AB May 29, 2017 – Visitors to Rowan House Society’s website, may notice a few changes. The site had been down for approximately two months while it was being rebuilt after a deep hacking incident and they used the opportunity to design a new logo as well.

The shelter will celebrate five years in High River this July and felt the timing was right. “We have seen a lot of growth over the last five years and are so much more than just an emergency shelter,” explained Executive Director, Sherrie Botten. “Our Outreach program has expanded, we’ve started a Transitional Housing program that’s still growing, and we are offering a wider variety of services for the general public through our Preventative Education.”

The society operating Rowan House Emergency Shelter changed its name in 2013 from Region 3 Family Based Care Society to the clearer, Rowan House Society, however, decided to stick with the shelter’s branding. Then when the hacking happened, their website developer asked about the logo and Botten said she felt it was a good time to start focusing on the Society as a whole and all it has to offer.

“We are very excited about the changes and we just want to thank everyone for their patience while the work was taking place,” she added.

To learn more about Rowan House’s history or to check out the changes, visit


Rowan House provides crisis intervention, long-term support and education for those affected by family violence in rural communities.

For more information, contact:

Sherrie Botten,
Executive Director
Rowan House Society
Direct: 403-603-5992
Cell: 403-990-7594