Our History

Haven House

Began in 1978 in a house on Water Street in Cambridge; it was called the Rotary Family Centre. In 1981, along with the move to Argyle Street, the name changed to Family Crisis Shelter. In 1991, a new 11 bed shelter was built at 562 Concession Rd. in Cambridge. In 1998 the name changed once again to Women’s Crisis Services of Cambridge and North Dumfries. In 2002 the Concession Road location was expanded to 30 beds, and as a result of the amalgamation with Anselma House, the final name change became Women’s Crisis Services of Waterloo Region. The new Acorn Way 45 bed facility was built in 2016.

Anselma House

Began in 1978 in a house on Duke Street in Kitchener; it was called Anselma House and retains this name today. The demand increased and a new 20 bed shelter was built in 1989 on Ann Street in Kitchener. In 2011 a new 45 bed shelter was built on Heritage Drive in Kitchener.

Joining Together

Up until 2001 Haven House and Anselma House operated as two separate organizations. In 2001 Haven House and Anselma House merged to form Women’s Crisis Services of Waterloo Region. At that time, the Board of Directors merged and one Executive Director was assigned to manage both facilities. In 2011, the agency’s Bylaws were updated and the Executive Director title was changed to Chief Executive Officer.


Women’s Crisis Services adapted the Dragonfly as its corporate logo along with the tag line “Moving Beyond Violence” in 2007. Fittingly and according to Carter Revard, “The Dragonfly lifts us up and encourages us to believe that human courage and ingenuity may keep alive our finest human values.”