A woman opens a door that reads "Love is all you need"

Flood Series: How you helped vulnerable women after the flood

A woman opens a door that reads "Love is all you need"
Photo: Urban Exposure Project participant Ariana Alcaraz

To mark the one year anniversary of the worst flooding in Southern Alberta’s history, we’re sharing a series of stories on the work that immediately followed. We saw community superheroes emerge, working together to ensure all citizens were safe, cared for and receiving the help they needed.

How women were helped after the flood

Thanks to community donations to United Way’s emergency flood fund, vulnerable women and children in Calgary were kept safe after the June flood. Because of you, frontline agencies were able to continue providing quality service to women who needed it most.

What you may not know

Peer Support Services for Abused Women (PSSAW)

After the flood, Judy* was being physically threatened by her abusive ex-partner. She tried to contact shelters in Calgary, but they couldn’t accommodate her because of the influx of clients. With support from United Way’s emergency flood fund, PSSAW was able to relocate Judy to a secure location and assist with getting her the food, medicine and transportation she needed to stay there.

Thanks to emergency fund donations, PSSAW was also able to assist 38 clients on a waitlist for mentorship on leaving abusive relationships.

Women In Need Society (WINS)

Many organizations struggle to keep up with donations after a disaster. Thanks to extra funds from our emergency fund, WINS was able to hire two additional staff to sort and organize donations, ensuring they made it to flood victims. Because of this, WINS distributed household items, furniture and other goods to a record number of people between September and October 2013. Almost all recipients of these donations were flood victims.

Women’s Centre of Calgary

The Women’s Centre works with women from all walks of life, including those living in poverty, facing health issues or violence, new immigrants and single mothers. After the flood, many of their clients were simply trying to pick up the pieces. With community support, the Women’s Centre was able to provide grocery gift certificates to evacuated women. Staff and volunteers also received specialized training in Critical Incidence & Trauma to support their clients during this crisis.


As a result of the flood, the housing crisis in Calgary has become even more pronounced. Safe, affordable and accessible housing remains the biggest unmet need affecting vulnerable women in Calgary. Agencies and community partners continue to work together to ensure all women and children have a safe place to call home.

You can follow our flood series or share your stories on Twitter using #yycinspired.

Felicia Zuniga is a Media & Communications Advisor at United Way.

Read the rest of the Flood Series: