Soon more victims of domestic violence will have a safe place to stay after leaving an abusive partner.
Gateway Domestic Violence Center is much closer to reaching its goal of $1 million to build seven new transitional apartments.
“One of the biggest barriers that domestic violence victims face when they leave an abusive situation is not being able to afford a place to go. So by providing transitional housing we’re able to eliminate some of the barriers that victims experience,” said Jessica Butler, the center’s executive director.
The center currently has three transitional apartments for women and their children to stay in for six months while they save money for a place of their own. The new apartments will have one to two big bedrooms that can be used to house several children if needed. The location is being kept a secret for the protection of the women who will one day live in the houses.
The center was awarded a $500,000 Community Development Block grant from the Georgia Department of Community Affairs. The center is now less than $100,000 away from being able to break ground.
The center began raising money for housing two years ago and officially launched the campaign early this year.
Several other area organizations donated to the cause. The Kiwanis Club of Gainesville donated the land, Junior League donated its signature grant and Habitat for Humanity promised to provide the labor for construction.
Butler said Gateway won’t break ground on the project until all of the funds have been raised. But she said she’s optimistic about starting construction soon.
“Our board wants to be sure we don’t overextend ourselves so we want to make sure we have all our finances in order before we break ground. We think that is going to be very soon,” Butler said.
Hall County Grants Manger Jessica Robinson said the decision to apply for a grant on behalf of the shelter came after reading an article Butler wrote for The Times.
“It’s just a good project and it’s something that has a lot of community support... having all of those community partnerships together makes sense for the county to support what they are trying to do,” Robinson said.
Robinson said the process of applying for this particular grant can often take up to a year but because the center already had so many details in place it only took around two months to complete the application.
The grant will be available to the center in December and the county will administer the funds.
Hall County will own the buildings and lease them back to Gateway for a nominal fee for 20 years as required by the grant. Butler said the logistics and language of the agreement are still being worked out.