In 1988, prior to opening Margaret Laurence House, GVWSS initiated the Women’s Supportive Housing Program (WSHP) in partnership with the Capital Mental Health Association. This program was administered by two community nurses and offered access to affordable housing and ongoing support to women who have been, or are at risk of being, hospitalized during periods of acute depression or other crises. In 1994 the program was expanded after funding for the program was obtained from the Capital Health Board (later the Vancouver Island Health Authority), but the program ended in March 2004 after VIHA discontinued funding.
In 1994 GVWSS was responsible for a training project through which Sandy Merriman House was constructed as an emergency shelter for women living on the street. Subsequently, GVWSS managed the shelter and drop-in centre at SMH during its initial phase of operation until 1998. Also in 1994
CMHC approved funding for land and construction of Margaret Laurence House, which opened in September 1995. The balance of funding was raised by the GVWSS from Vancouver Foundation, Victoria Foundation, McLean Foundation, Woodward’s Foundation, Ministry of Women’s Equality, and the wider Victoria community.
In 2002 Women’s Transitional Outreach Pilot project, which operated from November 2002 to October 2003, explored the possibility of expanding MLH services to include an outreach program to work with women who cannot be housed at MLH.