The director of Turning Point updated Delaware County Commissioners on the progress of the new domestic violence shelter project.
“We are the oldest and the largest rural shelter in Ohio,” said Turning Point Director Paula Roller. “We’ve been providing domestic violence services to Delaware County since our inception in 1979. In fact, the first family we housed in our shelter in Marion was from Delaware County.”
Plans for a domestic violence shelter in Delaware were announced in September 2016. Turning Point is working to raise funds in hopes of reaching $3.2 million to renovate the facility located at 500 N. Liberty St. in Delaware.
Roller told commissioners organization is close to meeting the goal after raising $2.2 million to date. She said that Turning Point has partnered with United Way of Delaware County to help raise the funds and it is also supported by the Delaware-Morrow Mental Health and Recovery Services Board.
“We serve the counties contiguous to Marion,” she told commissioners. “Marion is the geographic center of our service area but Delaware has grown to become the center of our population area.”
Roller said the former children’s home property — 7.5 acres of land with buildings — was purchased about two years ago. The facility features 13,000 square feet of living space. She said in addition to the living space, a kennel will be constructed to house the pets of the victims of domestic violence.
Roller said the interior of the buildings were gutted down to the framing for the renovation. She said plumbing was being installed, the roof was on, and the connector between the buildings was finished.
She said the facility will contain 13 bedrooms and have three mini efficiency apartments to be used as transitional housing where people could stay for up to one year.
“We are on target to have the construction done by April,” she said. “We plan to be fully operational by July 1.”
Commissioner Jeff Benson asked if the shelter was only serving Delaware County. Roller told the board the facility will serve anyone that is a victim of domestic violence.
“We’ve (had) people from West Virginia, Arizona, Montana, Wyoming, and wherever,” Roller said. “The borders are gone.”
Delaware County Prosecutor Carol O’Brien said domestic violence has been the secret that everyone was aware of, but didn’t talk about.
“Paula has been keeping that shelter up there fully filled, ministering, and helping hundreds if not thousands of men, women, and children through the process of domestic violence,” O’Brien said. “Being a victim of domestic violence is probably one of the most horrible things that can ever happen. Those folks that are supposed to love you the most and dearest, they’re the ones turning on you and causing you emotional, physical, and psychological harm. Part of the purpose of the shelter is to put an end to the cycle.”
O’Brien told commissioners that the shelter was “sorely needed in Delaware County.”
“I hope what this shelter does is make it easier for victims to come forward to get the services they need and break the cycle,” O’Brien said.
D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.