Domestic Violence Shelter Plans to Expand

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- The Ball family contributed in a bag way to a local charity Thursday, presenting a check of $550,000 to the Harmony House.

Harmony House is Springfield-Greene County's only domestic violence shelter. It announced plans to expand Thursday.

The shelter has served more than 16,000 survivors since first opening its doors.

The expansion, which will be in a property at 3404 E. Ridgeview, will take the shelter from 110 beds to 160.

The new location was formerly an America's Best Value Inn.

With domestic violence continuing to be a major problem in our area, this expansion provides some hope for local victims.

"Sheltering has been a big space issue for a number of years," said Springfield Police Department's Major Kirk Manlove.

It's a problem that continues to grow.

"Last year in 2014, we turned away 2,326 women and children," said Harmony House Executive Director Lisa Farmer. "We turn women and families away every day."

October is domestic violence awareness month and Harmony House's developing and marketing director has been using that, turning to social media to tweet every time the shelter turns someone away.

"One of the worst possible things a human can go through is they've reached out for help and we have to tell them, 'we are so sorry, we don't have a bed for you,'" Farmer said.

In addition to 160 beds, the new facility will also include more spacious rooms with in-room bathrooms, a playground for children, a larger kitchen and dining area, and more. All services will be housed in one facility.

"Our current shelter is safe-- but not a very healing place," Farmer said. "So just to be able to be somewhat comfortable and welcoming and a little more spacious will make a huge difference.  Emergency shelter is not the solution-- but it's a critical first step."

"It's a challenge," said Major Manlove. "And officers can spend hours assisting victims with a location to go to, sometimes unsuccessfully. Separating that abuser from the victim is key-- especially at the outset of a violent episode."

This new shelter, which should be up and running by this time next year, will provide some hope to victims throughout the area.

"This really is a first step in breaking that cycle of repeated abuse," said Major Manlove.

Harmony House has reached the halfway mark to its capital campaign goal. The organization has raised $2.2 million, the goal is $4.4 million.

If you'd like to contribute, you can contact the Harmony House at 417-837-7700.



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