The women's shelter in Charlottetown has been at full capacity for the last five weeks, often with a waiting list — which is unusual for this time of year.
Blooming House has eight beds. Women can call daily to reserve a bed.
"It's unusual — normally we experience those kinds of numbers during the summer months. People tend to be more transient and there's more movement," says operations manager Tavie Dakin-Ingersoll. "By October we generally have a little bit of a lull."
She thinks there could be several reasons for the increase in women seeking shelter.
"Some of it is seeing the ripple effects of COVID," she said. "People maybe have lost some of the supports that they've had, you know there might be breakdowns in relationships that people relied on before. There may be new or ongoing issues with mental health that COVID has exacerbated."
'Attracted to P.E.I.'
Dakin-Ingersoll said the shelter is also taking in more transient women from other provinces.
"I think maybe people are attracted to P.E.I. because of where we are in the COVID climate. There's multiple reasons," she said.
Blooming House is working with other community partners to find more options as the colder months approach, she said, such as other shelters in the province and a shelter hotline that can help people with nowhere to stay for the night.
"It's very difficult to tell people we don't have a bed for them," she said.
Officials at Bedford MacDonald House, the men's shelter in Charlottetown, say they have also been at capacity almost every night.