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


"We have to do this"

Boop, the Union County commissioner, said the board traditionally has allocated the block grant money to water, sewer and environmental projects for small communities, which are always struggling for funds.

"We put a substantial amount of money in water and sewer in the communities, and I think that's an excellent use of money," he said. "It's needed and well spent. But I also have compassion for some social challenges that are being dealt with with the shelter expansion project."

Whatever the outcome of Tuesday's decision, Baxley said the project will move forward.

"We're going to keep going, keep trying," she said. "We have to do this."

The organization also is seeking a $200,000 federal emergency shelter grant, allocated through the state Department of Community and Economic Development. Union County will serve as the applicant for Women in Transition's pursuit of the matching grant.

Baxley said they will try to raise the other $200,000 through fundraising, private donors, block grants and the Degenstein Foundation.

"It's important for the community to understand that helping individuals of domestic violence and sexual assault is really a community responsibility," she said. "It's outrageous that this (abuse) is still happening in 2009. It shouldn't get to that point. ... The victims have had tough times, and it's nice to have a very welcoming space for them that they can work on building their self-esteem back."

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