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


"Work stations will be created for children to work on homework at night, for women or parents to be able to access the Internet to job hunt or work on resumes," Baxley said. "It will really give them more capability of making it on their own."

No choice but to expand

With the rise this past year in abuse and assaults, Baxley said the organization has no other choice but to expand.

She said there is a rise in abuse, and it is being seen in the Valley -- so much so, that victims have been forced to be referred outside of the Valley because the shelters are full.

"We can't take on anyone else," Baxley said, adding that victims often have a difficult time finding housing after seeking help at the shelter.

Often the abuser is the one handling the finances, and when the victim looks for low-income housing, there is usually a waiting list.

"Because of their status, they do get priority on the listing," she said, "but even so, the waiting list is two to three months, sometimes even longer. We want capacity for an individual who needs to stay longer and still have space for those who need immediate shelter.

"With the economy and many losing jobs, more and more people are needing and more people are vying for the same."

Economy takes toll on giving

Women in Transition's main sources of funding come from the Department of Welfare through various organizations, as well as private fundraisers -- its two largest are an annual auction and a financial appeal.

The agency also receives financial help from the United Way, several area foundations and various grants.

The appeal for donations, however, is down this year.

"I think because of the economy," Baxley said. "People put notes in saying they were sorry, they'll donate more when things get better. People know it's hard, (that) it is affecting us. They're still giving, just not as much."

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