Surrey is one of the fastest growing cities in Canada, and the South Asian population has been contributing the most to this growth. Many South Asians in Surrey are new immigrants, subject to the strains of integrating into their new communities including finding employment, learning a new language, securing housing and adjusting to a new culture.
Sometimes, these and other strains result in the abuse and deprivation of women and the subsequent negative impact on their children. Last year, 155 cases of assault on South Asian females were reported, with at least three cases resulting in death. But many more cases go unreported. Most women in these abusive relationships cannot leave due to a lack of income, an unavailability of affordable housing, and insuffi cient social support and knowledge of how to access services.
Harmony House, a second-stage transition house for women and children fleeing domestic violence, operated by Progressive Intercultural Community Services (PICS) Society, opened its doors in January 2012. Beds are provided for 7 women, including 2 suites for families, with one-on-one counselling by Master-level counsellors, group therapy sessions, lifeskills training, referrals to other community resources, and practical assistance.
PICS Society is grateful for the 2012 annual grant received by the Surrey Homelessness & Housing Society. With the help of this grant, Harmony House has significantly impacted the lives of many women and children by offering a safe place to grow in confidence and independence while they journey through healing and self-reclamation.