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Rae Bridgman, Safe Haven: The Story of a Shelter for Homeless Women (Toronto: University of Toronto Press 2003)
SAFE HAVEN is an important contribution to the literature on strategies to address homelessness. In this anthropological study of the development of Savard's Place, an innovative project designed to serve chronically homeless women, Bridgman analyzes a feminist service and explains why existing sheltering practices do not adequately meet the needs of the most marginalized street-involved women. The book documents the challenge of maintaining a feminist vision for service delivery in the context of limited funding and bureaucratic control. Bridgman's methodology also addresses important issues about the ethics of researching homeless women and feminist initiatives.
Savard's Place, located in Toronto, is a homeless shelter that serves women who have resisted using shelters or who have been barred from the city's other shelters because of violent or "disruptive" behaviour. The organizers of Savard's Place started from the premise that shelter policies and practices needed to change, not the women who desperately needed these services. Traditional homeless shelters do not work for …