The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


March 16, 2009

Women in Transition: No room at the inn

With explosion of abuse, grant needed for shelter expansion

LEWISBURG -- With a troubled economy comes an increase in domestic abuse, said a Valley official who is seeking $80,000 Tuesday to double the size of her shelter for abused women and children.

So full is the Susquehanna Valley Women in Transition shelter that Chief Executive Officer DiAnn Baxley said those seeking help are being referred outside the area. The organization, which offers counseling, shelter and other emergency services to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in Northumberland, Snyder and Union counties, is requesting $79,080 in Community Development Block Grant money from Union County.

The county commissioners will decide Tuesday which of 10 requests will receive portions of the $262,600 they have to offer.

The Women in Transition agency needs to double its shelter size by adding four bedrooms and two bathrooms.

"It has to happen," Baxley said. "It's really not an option. We're just hoping that we do get the support."

Commissioner Preston Boop said Friday he and his colleagues have yet to decide on the block grant allocations, but added that, personally, he was in favor of the project.

"I think it's an excellent idea," Boop said. "I'm kind of excited to see that they're upgrading their shelter facility."

The agency's expansion project will cost $396,000. The organization has secured about $128,000 so far, including $60,000 in block grants from Kelly Township and $15,000 in block grant money from Lewisburg borough.

Plans to renovate and expand have been going on for more than a year, Baxley said. The existing shelter can accommodate about three families with its three bedrooms and one bathroom.

The expansion would add three bedrooms and one bathroom and a separate, handicapped-accessible bedroom and bathroom.

The existing kitchen has a stove, sink and refrigerator, but the expansion would add another cooking station and a dining area for families to sit together. A fully accessible stove and sink also would be installed.

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