STEPS plans to reopen Madeline’s House – Farmville

STEPS plans to reopen Madeline’s house

Posted at 7:58 PM Fri Aug 25 2023

STEPS is working to repair and reopen an area domestic violence shelter. If support comes in, Madeleine’s home could reopen by the end of the year.

In November 2022, the Southside Center for Violence Prevention closes Madeleine’s home. This shelter served as a domestic violence shelter for victims from Amelia, Buckingham, Cumberland, Lunenburg, Notoway, and Prince Edward counties. Unfortunately, the lockdown left a gap. So far, there is no local shelter in the area. This means that victims must be removed from their community at the time of their major trauma.

“When you look at the map of available shelters in Virginia, there is a gap in the middle of Virginia,” says STEPS Vice President of Housing Sean Rozier. “We are committed to changing that. This is a new shelter – a new beginning.”

STEPS is a nonprofit organization serving South Central Virginia by creating a stronger community through housing, education, workforce, and economic development. During this time, STEPS helped provide transportation and hotel accommodations so that victims could access those resources. They are now working on opening their own domestic violence shelter to fill this gap.

According to Rozier, the shelter will still have the Madeline’s House name, but a different name will be attached to the program because the Southside Center for Violence Prevention no longer provides services. The shelter will now fall under the umbrella of STEPS, Inc.’s Community Action Agency.

Where the project stands

Currently, STEPS is remodeling a home donated by Ellery and Robin Sedgwick to serve as a shelter. A donation is a great first step towards providing services, but it is only a step in the process. The building still needs a significant amount of work before it can enter service, including updating appliances, electrical and plumbing, painting the walls, replacing old heating and cooling units, and repairing the roof.

“The building is solid and will serve its purpose well,” Rozier said. “We are very grateful for this gift as it will enable us to help those who are suffering, but repairs must be made to the building before we can open it.”

STEPS has launched a campaign and is looking for community support to raise $150,000 to cover repairs, furnishing, and operating costs. The Virginia Department of Social Services provided $25,000 to help fund a Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Services Coordinator and an application for approximately $950,000 for one year of shelter and program services was submitted to the Senate Appropriations Committee by Virginia Senators Tim Ken and Mark. Warner.

“We are seeking grant money and appreciate the support of county and town officials, the religious community, businesses, and individual partners,” said STEPS President and CEO Sharon Harrop. “If you have supported a domestic violence shelter in the past, please consider partnering with us; unfortunately, the need does not go away. If you would like to join us for the first time, we welcome you for a worthy cause.

Besides the initial financial assistance, the shelter will need ongoing care and professional services from those who are able to help.

Supporters can donate financially by visiting Steps-inc.org/donate, texting STEPS at 26989, contacting Steps.harnessapp.com or by submitting contributions to STEPS, Inc. 225 Industrial Park Road, Farmville, VA 23901.

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