We're proud to announce our partnership with Shelter Movers

Shelter Movers, a Canadian charitable organisation providing moving and storage services at no cost to individuals and families fleeing abuse, have purchased a majority share in Firemen Movers. Through this partnership, we are honoured to have the opportunity to support women and children as they transition to a life free of violence.

What does the organization do?

Shelter Movers is a national volunteer-powered charity that provides free moving and storage services to survivors fleeing abuse, something no other Canadian charity offers. In collaboration with community agencies and local businesses, Shelter Movers supports families transitioning to a life free of violence. Shelter Movers can assist clients with transporting pets or finding local pet fostering, and also facilitate trauma-informed translation services to support their transition.

Survivors are referred to Shelter Movers’ intake team by local agencies. Once a client’s logistical needs are established, Shelter Movers develops a move plan involving a volunteer move team, security personnel as needed, and a detailed itinerary that centers the survivor’s safety and priorities. On the day of the move, a team of volunteers trained in trauma-informed practices packs, moves, and unloads the survivor's belongings into storage or their new home. The step-by-step process is done with dignity, high levels of security, and strict confidence to help survivors leave abuse while retaining their belongings.

Shelter Movers provides three types of moves:

  1. Urgent Exit – Moving a client and their belongings from an abusive household to a shelter or other safe space.
  2. Escorted Move – Escorting a client back to their former home with security accompaniment to retrieve their belongings.
  3. Resettlement – Transporting a client, their children, pets, and belongings from temporary housing to their new home.

In 2021, Shelter Movers was the first Canadian organization recognized by the French Red Cross and the Spanish Red Cross’ RED Social Innovation – a designation granted to organizations that meet distinct criteria related to social impact, innovation, accessibility, and viability.

Learn more about volunteering with or donating to Shelter Movers

What need does this work serve?

According to the World Health Organization, 27% of women aged 15-49 who have been in a relationship have been subjected to violence by their intimate partner at least once in their lifetime. Even once a woman leaves an abusive home, they often return multiple times to retrieve belongings or due to financial hardship. Women aren’t the only group affected, with 63% of homeless individuals having experienced abuse at the hands of a family member. Moving can be difficult under any circumstances, but leaving an abusive household is uniquely stressful,
costly, and potentially dangerous.

Since its inception in 2016, Shelter Movers has established local chapters in 9 major Canadian cities. To date Shelter Movers has moved nearly 6,500 families, averaging 1145 moves per month. A majority of survivors served by Shelter Movers are women-identifying mothers (18–45 years old) who have at least one child under the age of 8. Survivors from all walks of life use Shelter Movers services, a reflection of the pervasiveness of this social problem.

How can communities help the organization?

Shelter Movers is powered by volunteers and funded by community support. They rely on the kindness of those who share in the vision of safe lives for all for financial support to cover truck rentals, insurance, packing materials, storage, security, training, and staff. Shelter Movers services are always completely free for clients through the generosity of community partners, grants, and private donations. To continue to provide this service to survivors at no cost, Shelter Movers is looking for more Canadians who have time to assist with moves, as well as businesses and community organizations to partner with.