The Sandy Merriman House Emergency Shelter opened its doors for the first time on December 19, 1995. It had 15 beds for women in need and the length of stay for each resident was seven days. It did not take long before they saw their first clients.

This shelter was built by women for women.  The planners found employment for disadvantaged women who were interested in being trained in construction skills to renovate a house in downtown Victoria alongside professionals. The shelter and drop in space is named after one of the trainees involved in the project.  Sandy Merriman died of an accidental drug overdose; in honour of her memory the space now bears her name.

Today, Sandy Merriman House has 25 beds and our daytime drop in program averages over 800 hot, nutritious meals served each month.   Our daytime services are open to all women and women identified in the community over the age of 19 years.  Many of the people that access our daytime services need to do so as they cannot afford to buy groceries and at the same time pay for rent.  The drop-in program offers a hot meal, unlimited coffee/tea and juice, laundry and shower facilities, hygiene supplies, clothing, support and referrals from the Shelter Support Workers and the Client Support Workers.  We do offer different types of programs for those interested such as Reiki, arts and crafts, and guest speakers from different agencies.  All services at Sandy Merriman are available at no cost.


We need your help. Cool Aid is always looking for donations of cash and goods so we can help more.

Here’s some items we also need right now:

  • Donation of nonperishable foods to give out to people that are low in groceries. Items such as: pasta, sauces, coffee, sugar, creamer, canned foods, cereals, crackers, etc.
  • Socks
  • Underwear in various sizes
  • PJ’s in various sizes
  • Mugs
  • Blankets for single beds
  • Towels
  • Warm coats
  • Umbrellas
  • Ponchos

Watch this video to meet some of the people for whom we’re building homes, lives and community at Sandy Merriman House:


  • Province of BC and BC Housing
  • City of Victoria (tax exemption)