Transitions of PA continues to offer shelter and counseling to victims of domestic violence in Northumberland, Snyder and Union counties.

Susan Mathias, chief executive officer of the nonprofit center, posted a detailed message on the agency website informing the public that their services are considered essential and are being offered during the coronavirus pandemic. The center's 24-hour hotline also continues to operate.

It's a particularly dangerous time for some as many people are forced to remain at home while businesses are closed in an attempt to limit the spread of the disease, she said.

"Often, victims of abuse will be forced into quarantine with the very abusers they are attempting to flee from, forcing them to risk (their) safety due to a pandemic," Mathias said on the website.

As of Monday, she said, the level of calls for help has remained about the same, but requests for protection from abuse orders are a little higher.

Seven people are housed in two safe houses, allowing residents to keep a safe distance, Mathias said. Two others have been placed in a local hotel.

Mathias said she expects more calls to come in the longer the state requires businesses to be shut down and residents to quarantine at home. New clients who need emergency shelter will be placed in hotels to ensure their safe health and well-being.

"We have a safe place for people," Mathias said.

The Transitions housing team is also working with local landlords to get people into permanent housing when it's available, program director Tara Day Ulrich said.

The center has been able to maintain full-staffing levels with 42 employees as a result of recent technology upgrades in the past year, Mathias said.

Counseling and legal services are being offered by telephone or secure video conferencing. "A lot of our clients are taking advantage of that," Day Ulrich said.

Victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or other crimes may call the 24-hour hotline at 1-800-850-7948 or visit www.transitionsofpa.org.

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