Toronto-based moving organization helps women and children fleeing abusive relationships

Click to play video: 'Moving and storage services at no cost to survivors of abuse' Moving and storage services at no cost to survivors of abuse
WATCH ABOVE: Every day, survivors of abuse face the risk of losing everything they own when they flee. Marc Hull-Jacquin is the founder and executive director of Shelter Movers, a national volunteer powered organization that provides free moving and storage services to women and children fleeing abuse. Susan Hay has the story – Mar 9, 2020

In 2016, Marc Hull-Jacquin was working in the corporate world when he came to the realization of just how important making a difference in his community was becoming to him.

“I started learning about just how bad gender-based violence was in Canada and how many women were fleeing their abuser in the middle of the night with nothing,” explained Hull-Jacquin, founder and executive director of Shelter Movers.

With guidance from local shelters and community agencies, Hull-Jacquin began creating a plan that would support families transitioning to a better life.

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“Shelter Movers is a national volunteer-powered organization that provides free moving and storage services to women and children fleeing abuse,” said Hull-Jacquin.

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Recently the service partnered with Newmarket’s Abuse Hurts, a national organization designed to support survivors of abuse.

“Last year we received 8000 women at Abuse Hurts,” recalled Ellen Campbell, founder and CEO. “So that gives you an idea of just the number of women coming through us just in York Region.”

Since launching Shelter Movers in Toronto four years ago, the service has grown to include chapters in Ottawa, Vancouver and Halifax.

“There was a recent report that said more than 16,000 women a month are turned away from shelters in Canada,” Campbell said. “This is really a very, very needed service.”

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“Safety and security are our top priority,” Hull-Jacquin said.

“We take it very, very seriously. We do a lot of planning on the back end. We work with women shelters, police, and we have our own private security firms in various cities that are donating private security guards. We figure out when the safest time is to go in and help a woman gather her things.”

They work solely on donations helping to move a family to a life free of violence.

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“Between our four sites, we’re moving 50 to 60 families a month now, 1 to 2 families every day,” Hull-Jacquin said. “Violence against women has no place in Canada period. And I decided I’d be part of that movement to end it.”

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