FAQs

How do I make an appointment with a counselor?

Please call (250) 493-4366  

Emergency Shelter

How can I access SOWINS services?

To access our Transition House contact our 24-hour number Ph 250-493-7233 or Toll Free Number 1-800-814-2033.

  • If you are in a crisis contact our 24-hour Crisis Line 250-493-7233 or Toll Free Number 1-800-814-2033.
  • If you need to make an appointment with a counsellor contact 250-493-4366 or drop by our office (102-1027 Westminster Ave West, Penticton) Monday to Friday from 9am to noon during our walk-in times. Our services are free and confidential, no referral necessary.
How long can I stay at the Transition House?

You may stay up to thirty days.

How much does it cost to stay at the Transition House?

There is no charge to stay at the Transition House.

How safe will I be at the Emergency Shelter?

The Transition House is staffed 24/7 and provides enhanced security features to help ensure your safety.

Do I have to share a room with anyone else at the Emergency Shelter?

No. Many clients are unsure what to expect when they arrive at the Emergency Shelter, thinking it is set up in a hostel style of format. It is not.

As a client of the Emergency Shelter, you are provided with an individual room with a bed, nightstand, closet and full private bathroom. We recognize that privacy is an important part of the journey beyond trauma. There is a grand room, community space and large, well-equipped kitchen.

Can I bring our pet dog or cat to the Transition House?

We do not accept pets at the Transition House. However, we can assist with finding short term placement for dogs and cats.  Guide dogs and companion dogs with a valid certificate will accepted at the Transition House.

My partner does not hit me but takes all my money and stops me from seeing family and friends, can I still come to the Transition House?

Yes, Transition House will assist with all forms of abuse.

I am not a Canadian Citizen, can my children and I still come to the Emergency Shelter?

Yes, the Emergency Shelter is open to any woman and her children fleeing abuse.

Do I have to report the abuse to the police before I can come to the Emergency Shelter?

No, reporting to the police is not a requirement for accessing the Emergency Shelter.

How do I make my home available as a safe home?

Please contact us at: 250-493-4366

What happens to me after the safe home?

Depending on your circumstance you may placed in a safe home as part of your safety plan while leaving an abusive relationship. You may stay in a safe home for an average of 10 days, during that time more permanent housing should be sought out and arranged.

How will I find affordable housing when I leave the Emergency Shelter?

Your options will be explored. For example, do you qualify for BC Housing or SAFER?  You may also be referred to other community or government agencies who can assist you more in this area.  However, affordable housing does remain a great  challenge.

What credentials do I need to work at SOWINS?

Credentials and experience are dependant on the position. Read each job posting carefully to determine whether you possess the required qualifications. Applicants for Women’s Support positions require a diploma such as Human Service Worker or Social Service Worker (or equivalent) and two years of recent related experience with women who are overcoming the experience of abuse in a residential setting.

Volunteering with SOWINS

I want to volunteer with SOWINS. How do I get started?

The first step is to contact us at 250-493-4366.

Can I volunteer at SOWINS if I have been a client?

Yes, you can although we will often ask you to volunteer in an area where you were not a client – e.g. special events. There may also be a waiting to period between when you were a client and when it is best for you to volunteer.

What kinds of volunteer jobs are at SOWINS?

At this time there is volunteer opportunities for special projects and events. Our special event jobs can cover event planning, collecting donations, packing holiday hampers, and information booth sitting. We are seeking volunteer support for:

  • Walk to End Abuse (June 2020)
  • Share the Spirit – hamper days, donation room & holiday party (Nov/Dec 2019)

We also have positions available on our Board of Directors. If you would like to make a deeper commitment to SOWINS, perhaps that is the volunteer job for you.

Are there volunteer forms to fill out?
  1. Volunteer Application Form: This form is for your references and contact information and helps us get to know you better.
  2. Ethical Conduct & Confidentiality Form: This form is an agreement between SOWINS and you and says that we will treat each other with fairness and respect. Because of the sensitive work that we do at SOWINS we also need to protect the privacy of our clients. This form says that all volunteers agree to protect the clients of SOWINS privacy as well.
  3. Criminal Record Review: This is for volunteers who will work in contact with SOWINS clients, in our office, or in any job that could be sensitive for our clients. The form is filled out in person or online, is free and confidential. The CRRP is a processed through the Ministry of Justice.
I have a previous criminal record. Can I still volunteer with SOWINS?

The Ministry of Justice reviews volunteer application on a case by case basis. If you know that your criminal record check will come back with a flag, let the coordinator of volunteers know in advance. We encourage volunteers to go through the CRRP process as an adjudicator will discuss your previous history with you and can assist you in your pursuit of volunteering. If it is determined that SOWINS is not the appropriate place for you to volunteer, we encourage you to reach out the South Okanagan Volunteer Center as they will have other places that may be a better match.

I only want to volunteer for special events. Is that okay?

Yes! We have many volunteers that help us out at certain times of the year or for special events, over the holidays, or one off events.  Contact us at 250-493-4366 for more information.

Other Questions

How is SOWINS Funded?

Fundraising, grants and donations

Demand for SOWINS programs and services exceed supply. Additional funding for these is sought through various grant applications, fundraising activities and donations. To donate to SOWINS, please click here.

Contracts

Prevention, Education, Advocacy, Counselling and Empowerment (PEACE) for Children & Youth – Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General
Women’s Counselling Program – Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General and BC Housing
Community Based Victim Services – Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General
Safe Homes, Second Stage Housing, Homeless Prevention and Permanent Housing Programs – BC Housing
Transition House Program -BC Housing
Emergency Youth Bed – Ministry of Children and Family Development
SAFExst Program – Public Safety Canada and Interior Health Authority

Funding responsibilities are outlined in Service Agreements between SOWINS and the Ministry involved.  The core Ministry funding covers about 70 per cent of the actual operating costs of the services contracted.

What qualifications do your counselors have?

Our counsellors have a range of education and certifications including:

  • BSW (Bachelor of Social Work)
  • MSW (Master of Social Work)
  • RSW (Registered Social Worker)
  • RCC (Registered Clinical Counsellor)
  • Plus specialized training and many years of experience working with women and children impacted by abuse
How will I afford a lawyer?

If you can’t afford a lawyer, and you have left an abusive relationship you may qualify for legal aid. Our Community Outreach Support worker can help you with information.

My husband / partner needs counseling, will you see him? / Can we come for counseling together?

No, we do not offer couples or marriage counselling. If you are in or have been in an abusive relationship or are wanting to leave an abusive relationship our counseling services are available to you. We will provide you with information about resources that are available to your husband / partner.

Do you provide a training allowance for your healing and life skill workshops?

No, we do not.

How do I donate clothing to the individuals you serve?

At this time SOWINS is unable to accept donations of gently used items – including clothing. We are only able to accept new items. There are many excellent not for profits in our community that SOWINS clients frequent. This includes:

  • The Vineyard Church Free Store
  • The Care Closet
  • Salvation Army
  • IODE Thrift Shop

Please consider donating your gently used items to these organizations.

Need support? Contact us.

Counselling Office: 250-493-4366

24 Hour Crisis Line: 1-800-814-2033

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