Peace begins at home, as the motto of the Domestic Violence Crisis Center says, and soon that peace can begin at a brand new home. The center is moving down the road and will eventually have their safe house and transition housing in one location.
Additionally, the location of the Domestic Violence Crisis Center and its accompanying houses will no longer be top secret.
By the end of the month, the Domestic Violence Crisis Center will be headquartered at their new location next door to Minot Head Start, formerly Jefferson Elementary. Moving day is scheduled for next Monday.
One of the two new transition homes, which is a four-plex and still under construction, will be available for domestic violence and sexual assault victims to live in for 18 to 24 months. During their stay in the transitional housing, victims are provided case management to assist them in recovery and reaching their goals.
The exterior of the Domestic Violence Crisis Center at its new location next door to Minot Head Start is shown on Thursday morning. The facility will be headquartered in one location, with the safe house and transition housing in the same area. The staff at the center will be moving into the new facility next week.
"We don't have a ton of room at our old office, but with the new office, we'll have more room and be able to make it more welcoming," said Ashley Counts, children's coordinator for the Domestic Violence Crisis Center. There will also be a more sophisticated security system with more surveillance cameras, she added. "It will be like a little city." The sophisticated security system is one reason for why the center's location won't be held in secret, and having the office and all of the housing in one location will make it easier for police to check on the place if something happens.
In the 2011 flood, the Domestic Violence Crisis Center lost both of its transitional living apartment buildings, a total of eight apartments. As it currently stands, affordable housing is in short supply. The transitional housing program is for domestic violence and sexual assault victims to stay for 18 to 24 months, and the only service the center charges for. Rents are based on the victim's income and family size. While in transitional housing, victims are provided case management to assist them in recovery and reaching their goals.
With the new joint facility, the Domestic Violence Crisis Center will have their new office facility, two four-plex buildings to serve for transitional housing, and an emergency safe house for victims fleeing from domestic violence and sexual assault. The emergency shelter will be attached to the office facility. The entire building process is a four-phase project and is slated to be fully completed by 2016 or 2017.
The plans to build the new joint facility have been in the works for a long time, said Glenna Geyer, grants coordinator for the Domestic Violence Crisis Center. The funds came about after the flood and the center's foundation purchased the property next to Head Start and deeded it to the Domestic Violence Crisis Center, she explained. The property is on three acres and the Minot Optimist Club is building the children's playground that will be on the grounds, Geyer continued. The only other place that has a joint facility like what Minot will soon have is in Texas, she remarked.
"The four-plex (buildings) will be done by the end of April and the safe home will be done by December," Geyer noted.
There haven't been many problems with the building project, but Counts said the trickiest part has been with funding. Geyer has been working hard, however, Counts noted, and the Minot Area Community Foundation will build the two transition four-plex buildings.
"Little things like the phone system and infrastructure (such as) fire hydrants have been things that have come up," Geyer said. "It's just been normal everyday delays because construction is busy."
The Domestic Violence Crisis Center serves primarily McHenry, Pierce, Renville and Ward counties. With a rapidly expanding and diverse population, the needs for services provided by the Domestic Violence Crisis Center have been great. "When we see an increase in population, there will be an increase in services needed," Counts said. The center has also seen new issues that have popped up, she noted. For example, there have been victims coming to the center speaking Spanish or Arabic and the staff not being able to communicate with them, as well as cultural issues like a family not eating pork due to religious beliefs, Counts explained.
Some days at the center are busy and others are not, Counts remarked. "You just never know," she continued. "When there's more people, there's more violence."
The Domestic Violence Crisis Center is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Counts said. They have a 24-hour crisis lines for domestic violence and sexual assault, as well as a 24-hour emergency shelter where families can stay for up to a month. Other services are also provided, but not limited to, advocacy, transitional housing and public education. "We are here for them and if we can't help them, we'll find an agency that will," Counts added. "We use everything that's donated and our services will keep growing."
"Everything is free," Geyer noted, like when the victims have an advocate accompany them to court or when staying at the safe house. The advocates are there for emotional support and hand out information to the families," Counts added.
"We are with (the victims) when they walk in the door until they decide they're not in need of our services anymore," Counts said.
If people have questions or want to donate clothing or personal care items, they can call the Domestic Violence Crisis Center office at 852-2258. The 24-hour crisis line is 857-2200 and the rape crisis line is 857-2500.