SPRINGFIELD,Mo-- Domestic violence victims fleeing abusive partners will now have a new housing option in the Springfield area. Harmony House will open it's new location this month, providing more room for survivors
Near Battlefield Road and Highway 65, the new facility couldn't be in a more prominent Springfield location. And the director says that's by design. They hope a more visible location might actually reduce domestic violence cases.
"People who are abused have got to have somebody to turn to," says Scherrie Manes, a domestic violence survivor.
"A lot of times if you're raised in a abuse situation.You really don't know what's not abuse or what is abuse. So coming here helps clarify that."
Manes has been at Harmony House since December 2016 and is nervous about the transition. "You're going into something you don't know and that's typical for abused women. We tend to stay with the familiar and what we know."
But she says she is looking forward to something new. "But I think when we get over there it will be a totally different effect."
Lisa Farmer is Executive Director of Harmony House. She says its size of the new shelter speaks to the prevalence of abuse. "There's a huge need and we've turned away hundreds upon hundreds of people who need a bed every year because we didn't have one," says Farmer.
An increase in the number of women needing support led to overcrowding at the previous Harmony House shelter.
"That's a horrible feeling when somebody has made the courageous decision, a frightening decision, to leave and our advocates have to tell them we're so sorry, but we don't have a spot for you."
She says the original shelter has a maximum capacity of 110 beds. The new facility will provide 50 additional beds. "This may not meet the entire need but it will go a long long way."
A medical exam room is one of the many additions to the new facility. It's overseen by Mercy Hospital nurses who will provide basic medical attention.
"We have residents that are injured when the come here often and they are to frightened to go to the urgent care or to the ER."
In the meantime, she's hoping for more safe outcomes to the people she serves.
"At the end of the day every life matters and so if we can help one family at a time to have happy healthy lives then we've done our job."
Farmer says they will close on the old location on Cherry Street in March.
She says the old three story building will be turned back into apartments which was it's original purpose before becoming a shelter.
If you have been holding on to those donations, Harmony House will start taking them when the new shelter officially opens February 21st.
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