pic The Universal Shelter Association provided temporary shelter for men, women and youth in minority groups, including gays and lesbians, ethnic and religious minorities &c -- people who fell between the cracks of our support system.

The Universal Shelter Association was formed in March, 1996 by Chai Chu (pronounced "Jet Soo") to respond to the issue of domestic violence in our community. We ceased operations in April, 2004, when the remaining members voted to cease operations. Finding safe-houses had become increasingly difficult, the number of cases per year continued to be very small, United Way funding had been severely cut. On the good side, other organizations had improved their services to the point that fewer people were "falling through the cracks."

We were a nonprofit, volunteer-based organization founded on the belief that every person has the right to live their life free from violence and abuse. The services provided by the Universal Shelter were designed to be sensitive to the diversity of our community in terms of culture, language, sexual orientation, physical ability, and/or level of income. We offered counseling, crisis intervention and refuge to anyone who wished to leave a violent situation. Victims of family violence received emergency shelter and care in safe houses registered with the Universal Shelter Association. Our safe homes were private residences located throughout the Metro-Halifax area, and were maintained by a dedicated group of volunteers.

We upheld the philosophy of zero tolerance towards physical, emotional, financial, political, or religious abuse. Family violence has no boundaries based on culture, race, religion, class or gender. Every human being has the right to live a dignified life, free from violence and abuse. Shelter from abuse is an essential first step in regaining control over one's life. It was our purpose to provide that first step.