$91K grant to help abuse victims

Published 12:03 am Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A more than $90,000 grant will ensure abuse victims can continue to receive services at Opport-unity House, the women and children’s shelter in Opp.

Gov. Robert Bentley announced Tuesday the shelter was awarded two grants totaling $91,299 for residents of Covington, Conecuh and Monroe counties.

Oppo-rtunity House will use the grants for emergency shelter and other services for domestic violence victims and their children.

“Domestic violence victims need and deserve professional assistance to help rebuild their lives,” Bentley said. “I commend Opportunity House for providing this compassionate assistance from the moment victims walk through the door until they are on the path toward recovery.”

The organization offers a 24-hour crisis telephone line, individual and group counseling and transportation for victims. The shelter also develops case management plans for each adult resident and provides court advocates who prepare and support victims during legal proceedings.

The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs is administering the grants from funds made available by the U.S. Justice Department.

Bentley informed Howard West, president of the organization’s board, that he had approved the grant. Matching funds of $20,324 are supplementing the awards. Deborah Hooks, OH executive director, said $77,000 of the grant will be used to fund salaries.

“We’re tremendously grateful for the funding,” Hooks said. “Last year, we serviced several hundred clients, and hope to be able to continue to do so in the future.

“This money will help with that, but we still have a tremendous shortfall in funding,” she said. “It costs us $5,000 a month in operating expenses, and at the rate things are going, we only have enough funding to last maybe two years.”

Along with grants, the organization relies on private donations to ensure that services continue to be offered to victims free of charge.

Donations can be mailed to P.O. Box 554, Opp, AL 36467.