For the women we serve, having access to clothing, home goods, and food at no cost makes a considerable difference in their day‐today lives. Although with limited resources we try our best to distribute donations across our housing and outreach programs, Bette’s Boutique allows us to maximize the benefits that donated goods can have on the community we serve. The donations we accumulate can now be distributed to any woman in the community, and not just those that access our housing and outreach programs. Women benefit not only from the access to free items, but also from engaging with an environment in which they are dignified, respected, and listened to.
By providing women with both material and emotional support, Bette’s Boutique directly improves the lives of the women it serves in the Downtown Eastside community. Safe access to adequate clothing, home goods, and food for women and their children will result in daily and immediate improvements in their lives. With over 450 visits to the Boutique each week, it is clear that there is a dire need for safe and free access to these items among the community. Bette’s Boutique also impacts the community served by increasing their ability to access supportive housing, legal services, counselling, and other outreach programs. Access to these services improve outcomes for women who are experiencing homelessness, discrimination, violence, and/or abuse.
Through providing women with both material goods and access to services, Bette’s Boutique is capable of making a long-lasting and sustainable difference in the lives of the women it serves. Although many women first visited Bette’s to “shop,” the Boutique has become a safe place for women to seek refuge, rest, and access support services. As awareness of Bette’s continues to spread among the community, the potential community impact continues to grow. Keeping the Boutique open and funded will allow staff to continue making lasting impacts on the lives of the women we serve.
We are truly honoured to name this incredible space after the late Bette Durrant, one of Atira’s first volunteers to not only collect, but also wash, mend and drop off donations to Atira’s first transition house – now called Durrant Transition House for Women. Bette taught us all how important it is for women to have what they need to start fresh and how impactful donations can be. We are forever grateful for Bette’s determination, dedication and commitment to collecting good quality donations for women who need them.