Moving service for abuse survivors ‘desperate’ for volunteers

By Adam Inniss

Shelter Movers, a not-for-profit organization that provides free moving and storage services for people fleeing abusive relationships, is in urgent need of more volunteers to help with the growing demand for their services.

The organization, which is the only one of its kind in Canada, helps with up to 17 moves per month in Nova Scotia.

The housing crisis has made coordinating moves difficult for the team, and more volunteers are needed to help with both the moves and the coordination. Shelter Movers is also expanding its services around the south shore and Turo.

Jennifer O’Neil, the Nova Scotia Chapter director of Shelter Movers, said, “We wish we didn’t have to exist. We’re the only service of this kind in Canada.”

“We have an incredible group of volunteers that work behind the scenes to facilitate a move to happen, and volunteers to help with the move itself,” said O'Neil.

Volunteers go through a criminal background check. They also receive trauma-informed training to prepare them for the potentially tense situations surrounding moving days. “We are going in, packing and leaving, and getting them out safely” said O'Neil.

“The happier moves are when someone is going from a shelter into a permanent home, things come out of storage, those are the better days,” O’Neil said. “I personally started as a volunteer truck driver, but not everyone wants to be there on the days. We have positions behind the scenes, organizing the moves.”

“It’s a wide range of people who volunteer, a lot of students and younger people come and go,” Said O’Neil, urging people to go to the Shelter Movers website and apply to volunteer.

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