By Melody Vallieu
Miami Valley Sunday News
TROY — The Family Abuse Shelter of Miami County has broke ground on its new location while continuing its fundraising efforts.
According to shelter director Barb Holman, the COVID-19 pandemic has further confirmed that the shelter moving to a new location is absolutely necessary, while also slowing the process of funding the future facility.
The new location at 530 Crescent Drive, Troy, is a two-acre site and was previously a doctor’s office. The existing space is being re-purposed, along with an addition, to include a total of 7,370 square feet. With good weather, Holman said they hope for a late fall completion date. Brumbaugh Construction of Arcanum is the contractor for the project.
To date, the board has raised $1.7 million, or about 75 percent, and needs to raise $600,000 more to get to the $2.3 million goal.
Funding for the project has been been secured from many of the foundations in the county, businesses and individual community members, according to board member Ruth Jenkins.
“Lots of helping hands,” Jenkins said.
Holman said the pandemic has set fundraising back and they will now continue to raise funds into next year to reach the goal if necessary.
“When you think about where we are with the fundraising, money that we have raised locally, it’s just amazing,” Holman said. “COVID-19 has thrown a bit of a wrench in it, but I am staying optimistic. We are staying focused in all of this, because we do see the need.”
Holman said they also are actively seeking in-kind donations from contractors or businesses, such as building supplies. She said they have had donations of windows and brick and a company that is helping with the HVAC systems.
“That could be a wonderful way for a business to acknowledge our program and get a tax break,” Holman said. “Everything is helpful, everything, and we appreciate it all.”
The new shelter location will be on one floor and increase shelter space for women and children from 26 to 40 beds. Bathroom facilities will go from one upstairs bathroom to six dorm-like showers and stalls. Jenkins said the new facility will be more energy-efficient, be handicapped accessible, offer more parking and will help the shelter comply with the guidelines of its funding sources for operating costs.
Separate space for victims of domestic violence and the homeless also have been designed into the two wings, Holman said.
In the administrative office area, which will include the renovation of the current office space at the site, Holman said staff will be able to offer direct services and increase confidentiality when working with agencies such as New Creations Counseling and the Miami County Recovery Council, which will have a satellite office in the building for on-site services.
“I think it’s an absolute necessity that we expand. The present facility, the Franklin House, has served us well. But we’ve come to the point where too much has changed. We serve the whole county, and that’s a large population. We need a better facility for women and children and families,” Jenkins said.
Holman agrees, especially now, with the challenges the current shelter site has had with COVID-19. Holman said they have tried to separate those at the shelter as best they can, which has been a challenge. Some of the older adults in the shelter, she said, also cannot climb the stairs to go to the second floor.
“The pandemic has confirmed that we need this. Space has been the biggest issue with our current facility. We are adapting and doing the best we can. We have people in hotels and people in the shelter. Never before have we realized our lack of space like now. We are land locked and space locked.”
Holman said they have not yet decided what they will do with the shelter’s two existing properties, including the Franklin House and the Barbel Adkins Education and Activity Center, at 16 and 22 E. Franklin St., in Troy.
“Our community is growing, as well the community’s needs grow,” Holman said. “We will continue to do what we need to adapt. It’s on the table what to do with our current buildings. Once we get moved, we’ll take a look at our programming needs and see what is best to do with our buildings.”
You may donate by check to the Family Abuse Shelter, 16 E. Franklin St., Troy, OH 45373 or donate online using the PayPal link at FamilyAbuseShelterofMiamiCounty.org. When donating online, please make sure to select Shelter Expansion Project from the drop down menu. Undesignated donations will go toward general operational support.