After a four-month, temporary suspension of services, A Friend’s House has reopened its doors to victims of domestic violence.
The shelter stopped taking in new clients in June when it became apparent that it lacked sufficient funds to meet their day-to-day needs, as well as the costs of maintaining and staffing the shelter’s 24-hour operation.
“The last thing a domestic violence program wants to do is close its doors to families in crisis,” said Sue Ellen Hughes, A Friend’s House executive director. “However, through several fundraisers, community donations and grants, we’ve survived a very difficult summer and are now able to take in new clients once again.”
A Friend’s House has been in existence since 2001 and over the years has helped more than 1,500 victims of domestic abuse. The main criteria for taking victims into the shelter are that: 1) they must be in a domestic violence situation, and 2) there must be no other immediate, safe housing options for them. They also must not be drug dependent or have serious, diagnosed mental illness.
“The shelter is safe; it’s confidential; and it has accommodations for at least eight clients (including children and infants), normally for one month at a time,” Hughes explained. “We have a dedicated, professional and caring staff who are available to them 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”
While at A Friend’s House, those who need it will be assisted with locating alternative housing, jobs, and medical, legal and social services. The shelter also provides food, clothing and daily hygiene items, as well as a limited amount of furniture when a client leaves.
“Basically, we are here to provide an environment for healing and rejuvenation,” Hughes emphasized. “Our hope is that when clients leave us, they will feel empowered to make constructive choices and to live purposeful lives free of violence, coercion and intimidation.”
Anyone who believes they are a victim of domestic violence is encouraged to call A Friend’s House at 740-852-7761. Staff members are trained to be understanding listeners no matter what choice the caller ultimately decides to make. All communications with staff are kept strictly confidential.