It was such a relief to finally let someone know all that I had been hiding for so long. I felt guilty and embarrassed to let people know the truth.
- Family Shelter Service Client
When a woman is planning to leave a violent relationship, there are many reasons why shelter is a safe option for her. It may not be safe for her to stay with friends or family members, because the abusive partner is aware of these locations. Or, she has become so isolated from a support network that there is no place else to go for help. Shelter provides a safe and supportive environment for women and their children to heal physically and emotionally. They are given the opportunity to address their immediate needs and to make steps towards achieving their goals.
Every woman entering shelter develops a plan with her primary counselor. This plan is used to outline goals and the steps that must be taken to reach those goals; for example, finding safe housing, exploring employment opportunities, arranging for childcare and transportation needs and accessing available legal protection. While in shelter, residents meet with an assigned counselor several times per week to discuss their progress towards achieving these goals. In addition, each resident is expected to take part in group programs including parenting skills, domestic abuse education, and support groups.
Length of stay is designed to meet the needs of each person and family in the program. In addition, each resident is expected to follow our shelter program guidelines. Shelter stay is evaluated on a weekly basis.
The shelter program is based on communal living, in a home-like environment. Communal living means sharing living space with other women and children, and requires the ability to live with a diverse population. Each resident is expected to participate in the maintenance of a safe environment, including daily chore assignments and maintaining a respectful, nonjudgmental atmosphere. Women seeking shelter have an option to also seek temporary shelter for their pets through a local humane society. Hotline counselors will ask you about the safety of your pets. Our shelters are accessible to people with disabilities.
The shelter locations are kept confidential for safety reasons.
Upon departure from shelter, clients are encouraged to participate in the Family Shelter community counseling program. In this way, the need for ongoing support and encouragement can be provided.
More information about the shelter program, including specific program guidelines, can be obtained in detail by calling our 24-hour hotline (630-469-5650) and speaking with a trained hotline counselor.