About Us

Our History


Cara Transition House was opened in 1991 as a safe haven for women and children who are fleeing violence. Planning work and lobbying began years earlier with significant involvement of the Gander Status of Women. In 1987 a committee was formed with the goal of establishing a Transition House in Central Newfoundland. The name ‘Cara’ was chosen as it means “a friend”. This seemed an appropriate name for a place that would be a safe haven for women and children who were escaping violence.
Today, Cara Transition House is operated by a volunteer Board of Directors comprised of 7 dedicated community members from the Central Region.   The Executive Director is also and ex-officio member of the Board. Staff and Board work in collaboration to achieve the goals of the organization. Each is involved in determining new policies and revisiting current ones for the shelter and its residents.

The current Human Resource team consists of 4 full time Counselors/Crisis Workers, 1 full time Child Service worker, 5 call-in workers and a full time Executive Director.  Shelter staff not only responds to the immediate safety needs of our residents, they also fill the roles of: advocate; life skills coach; and outreach worker.  


Our Philosophy


We believe it is the basic human right for every woman to live in a non violent environment.

We believe assault of women is a crime that crosses all class, cultural and ethnic boundaries. It is a social problem, not a private matter. Therefore, all levels of government and society must share in the responsibility to eliminate violence and provide protection to women under the law.

We believe no woman should be forced to remain in a violent or abusive home because of lack of alternatives.

We believe that women have the right to integrity of the person, including the right to make informed choices among alternatives in one’s own life decisions.

We believe that violence that arises in a relationship is based on an unequal distribution of power.  Violence is one form of demonstrating power over another, and that power differential has historical roots. Tradition, laws and attitudes exist against women in our society that support wife assault and every attempt should be made to eliminate these inequalities.

We acknowledge that some groups of women e.g.  Visible minorities, immigrant women, aboriginal women, women with disabilities and poor women face double oppression because of discrimination.

We recognize that it is a basic human right for each individual to live free and without fear of violence.

24-Hr Crisis Line: 1-877-800-2272

Shelter counsellors are available 24 hours per day to respond to calls from individuals seeking information, support, counselling, or shelter. The crisis line is often the first point of contact for women who are thinking of leaving or planning to leave an abusive relationship. All of our services are confidential. Women can call us as often as they like for as long as they require support.

This line is also available to people who call for information about a friend or loved one that they are concerned about, and to community agencies calling on behalf of a client.

Counsellors at Cara House must speak directly with the woman before she can be admitted to the shelter.


Shelter Services


We provide emergency shelter 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. Our shelter can accommodate 13 women and children; each family has their own room and share communal living space with other families. Women are expected to contribute to the daily chores of meal preparation; house cleaning and child care. Families are encouraged to offer assistance and support to one another, were possible.

Residents do not pay to stay at Cara Transition House.  We accept self-referrals and referrals from community agencies, law enforcement, other shelters and government agencies. 

We offer:

  • 24 hour crisis telephone counselling
  • Safe emergency shelter 24/7
  • Safety planning
  • Counselling
  • Legal information/referrals
  • Information about violence against women
  • Referrals to community resources and government services
  • Advocacy
  • Assistance with transportation
  • Parenting support
  • The opportunity to talk to other women with similar experiences

Public Education


Shelter staff is available for presentations to the community to raise awareness about gender-based violence and the services we offer at Cara Transition House. These presentations are offered to service clubs, church groups, community organizations, law enforcement, court personnel, and the elementary, junior high, high schools and post secondary education facilities in the area.

If your organization would like to have more information about the services that are offered by Cara Transition House or to request a presentation about violence against women, call us 709-256-9306.



Second Stage Housing


Cara Transition House operates six Second Stage Housing units in the Town Gander. These homes are a safe environment for women with or without children who are leaving our transition house or another transition house in the province.  

Second Stage Housing units are independent, single family homes. Utilities are included, as are laundry facilities.  Some units are fully furnished. Monthly rent is affordable (within the affordable housing guidelines published by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation for our areas). Rental agreements are available up to eighteen months in length.

For more information on our Second Stage Housing program, contact our Administration office at 709-256-9306.