Ishtar Transition Housing Society has operated in the Central Fraser Valley since the opening of Ishtar House on Jackman Road in Aldergrove on June 24, 1973.
Ishtar Transition House has the distinction of being the first transition house in North America. Then, the house had the capacity to accommodate a maximum of eight women and children. Today, Ishtar House can house 12 residents at one time. Then, as it is now, the focus was to provide emergency housing and support services for women and their children leaving abusive relationships. It is a place that is free from the threat of violence. The staff provides emotional support and can put women in touch with agencies and resources offering legal, medical or financial assistance. Children, who are exposed to violence in the home, whether or not they are beaten, are deeply affected. The staff recognizes that they may be confused, frightened or even angry about these changes in their lives and offer support to these children.
In the beginning funding came in the form of short term grants. The staff pooled the money and agreed to reduce their salaries and when the grant funds were exhausted, they volunteered their time in order to keep the doors open to women and children in crisis. Many sacrifices were made during turbulent and uncertain times.
The Society has occupied five locations since purchasing the property in Langley in June 1979. Services and personnel increased when the funding became available from Ministry Contracts in September 1990. The building of the brand new Ishtar House was completed and opened on April 17, 1998. The first objective was to staff the house 24 hours, the following year was to increase the Child Care position to full time. In 2006 Community Outreach Workers were hired to continue client support after their 30 day stay at the transition house.
Since our inception in 1973 Ishtar Transition Housing Society has expanded services by adding the Libra House in Aldergrove, and the Administration and Counselling offices in Langley. Ishtar now provides several programs and services for individuals and families such as Stopping the Violence Against Women, Children Who Witness Abuse, Community Based Victim Services, Donations/Volunteer programs, and many Group programs.
The road has been long, often with barricades and detours, but never before has the Society experienced such support, as exists now, from other agencies, community groups, individuals and government officials, including the Ministry for Community Services and Ministry for Public Safety and Solicitor General, who have come to recognize, accept, and take responsibility for doing whatever is needed to eliminate violence against women, men and children. From volunteers including the Board of Directors, staff past and present, Ishtar Transition Housing Society remains dedicated to the highest standards of professional practice.