ASHE COUNTY — A Safe Home for Everyone (ASHE), a domestic violence program of the Ashe County Partnership for Children, has begun implementing a change in the way services will be provided to clients. This new model is designed to extend the services of ASHE and provide for a more holistic approach to the issues associated with domestic violence.
Chris Robinson, chairman of the ASHE Partnership for Children board of directors and Deanna Stoker, ASHE program director, came before the Ashe County Board of Commissioners during their regular meeting on Monday, July 20 to update the board on the changes being made to ASHE.
Since its inception, ASHE has provided emergency shelter, case management, advocacy, supportive counseling and many other services that help and support survivors of intimate partner violence as they begin to heal and move forward to rebuild their lives and the lives of their children. Through extensive analysis of services requested from clients and needs of survivors, a new, innovative model for services will be implemented effective Oct. 1.
With the changes, ASHE will move from a common shelter model of providing emergency housing for victims and their children to a model that focuses on the use of individual housing units. Clients may be provided shelter for up to 90 days, but the new model focuses on helping clients establish their new household as quickly as possible.
“A focus of our program is to empower victims and to help them and their children to find a new normal as quickly as possible,” Stoker said. “We understand that this requires a wide range of support, including financial literacy and therapeutic counseling services. The goal is to provide more stability to clients with less disruption to their lives while empowering them to be self-sufficient.”
According to Stoker, 46 percent of homeless women in the nation are homeless due to domestic violence.
“Our goal with this model is to prevent them from re-entering homeless shelter operations again.”
According to Robinson, ASHE served 157 people last year but only 10 of those people used ASHE’s stand-alone emergency shelter which led them to seek a way to better use their limited resources.
Robinson wants to assure the public that shelter resources will be available just as they have been before.
“We will continue to provide emergency shelter for those who are in domestic violence situations,” Robinson said. “We feel strongly as a board that this is the right move but our greatest fear is someone will hear that the shelter is closing and think there are not shelter resources in Ashe County.”
With the new concept, ASHE will lose three part-time positions but according to Robinson those workers don’t rely on the position for their sole income and will receive a severance package.
Beyond the emergency shelter program, ASHE provides extensive programming to support and prevent intimate partner violence. According to Robinson, they will be using some of resources previously spent on the part-time positions on the implementation of prevention services for pre-teens and teens in Ashe County schools.
“As a board, we are excited to offer this new model,” Robinson said. “We believe that this is the next step forward in providing effective and efficient support to our community, and we are particularly excited that this change means we can work even more extensively on prevention of domestic violence. Our goal is in the name of the program, A Safe Home for Everyone.”
Prevention’s National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence survey reveals 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men have been raped with only 40 percent of those ever reporting to crime to law enforcement.
According to the North Carolina Council for Women, more than 22,000 hot line calls were received by North Carolina rape crisis centers in 2013-14.
“We all want productive citizens in Ashe County,” Stoker said. “We all want people who are employable, who can own their own homes, who can grow their families here. That’s ASHE’s goal with this new model, so people can become more productive and self-sufficient.”
For more information about Ashe County Partnership for Children and its programs, contact Kimberly Barnes at 336-982-4588. For more information about A Safe Home for Everyone, contact Deanna Stoker at 336-983-8851.
Hannah Myers can be reached at 336-846-7164 or on Twitter @cmedia_hmyers.