One of the most difficult decisions a survivor of domestic violence can make is leaving, then, taking that next step to “make the call to reach out to someone you don’t know hoping they’re willing and able to open their doors,” said Sanu Dieng, Transitions Family Violence Services executive director.
After the Hampton-based organization’s largest emergency shelter flooded last September, they’re asking the community to step in and crowdfund at least $25,000 so that the doors are always open to someone requesting their services.
“Last year, we had 39 requests for shelter and we were full so that means we’re calling other community partners and even utilizing hotels,” Dieng said. “It just speaks to the fact that at this point we just don’t want that number to increase at all…this facility is really instrumental in us being able to provide safe housing.”
A complete kitchen rebuild, all new pipes and plumbing, and replacing essential furnishings now ridden with mold are necessities for the housing facility but won’t be covered by insurance, Dieng said.
On what a seemingly quiet Sunday night in September, as the children ate their dinner and families prepared for the week, approximately 23 people would be forced to once again “grab what they could” after an unknown source triggered the sprinkler system.
“We tried to make the transition as smooth as possible from that night and move the families the best way that we could,” she said.
Transitions Family Violence Services provided nearly 5,000 nights of shelter to more than 120 people in 2018, and families affected by the flooding have been relocated to “scattered sites” at undisclosed locations throughout the region.
As the only agency on the lower Peninsula that offers emergency housing, Dieng said “it’s been a hard hit for us.”
While the families might be commuting more from the scattered sites to case manager appointments, Dieng said the nonprofit is also accepting in-kind donations including gas cards, food, and household furnishings to fill transitional homes.
To learn more about Transitions and how to help in their initiative to rebuild, click here.