The Center for Women and Families is closing its domestic violence and sexual assault emergency shelter, but the move should actually increase the presence of the nonprofit and the reach of its services in Southern Indiana, President and CEO Elizabeth Wessels-Martin said.
“While we have been able to serve many people in shelter over the years, we have been limited by shelter capacity, and we believe this transition will allow us to help more people who may be in danger…,” Wessels-Martin said in a news release.
The shelter, which had 159 residents in 2016 and 153 in 2017, will be phased out beginning Nov. 1 and CWF will begin implementing mobile advocacy.
In an interview, Wessels-Martin explained that running the brick and mortar shelter costs hundreds of thousands of dollars a year when, in reality, most victims do not want to use a shelter.
“We know 75 percent of victims don’t seek out shelter. They say ‘I won’t go to a shelter, I’ll stay in a car before I go to a shelter,’” Wessels-Martin said.
“People think shelter is the only answer and it is not. There are many, many more options for women that leads to self-sufficiency and leads to developing a skill set they haven’t been able to develop because of their situation,” she said.
CWF will provide the same services, including, but not limited to, safety planning, legal advocacy, transportation and counseling, but rather than having clients come to the shelter for those, they’ll offer flexible meeting locations.
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