Cape shelter for women opens office

Monday, September 18, 2006

An expansion will allow Cape Girardeau's Safe House for Women to better serve battered women and their children in the local community, the executive director for the not-for-profit organization said.

The Safe House, in its 15th year in Cape Girardeau, recently opened a new business office at 1810 E. Plaza Way. Executive director Linda Garner said the new business office has allowed the Safe House to move its administrative operations out of its secret shelter location.

Garner said the expansion has been a priority for the organization for quite a while.

"For probably the last eight or nine months, the board of directors has been kind of struggling on how to address some of the space issues we have at the shelter," said Garner.

The Safe House provides an emergency shelter for battered women and their children, in addition to counseling, case management and court advocacy. Those services will now be available at the business office location, said Garner. She hopes having a building dedicated to housing the administrative offices may raise the Safe House's profile in the community, so women who need Safe House services will have easier access to them.

"For the first time ever we're going to have a physical presence in the community that's not confidential," Garner said.

Moving the Safe House administrative offices has opened up space for six extra beds at the shelter, which is at a confidential address to protect victims. Now, the shelter has space for 22 women and their children. The Safe House serves about 100 women and 75 children each year in its shelter and helps more than 200 women a year with other services, Garner said.

Last month the Safe House took more than 80 hotline calls, the most in its 15-year history, said Garner.

Cape Girardeau Police Department spokesman Barry Hovis said the services provided by the Safe House are crucial to police responding to domestic violence calls. Hovis said the Safe House is a "huge asset."

The organization also has plans to open up a thrift store out of its new location in mid-October.

For more information on the Safe House for Women, call 335-7745.

335-6611, extension 182

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