Domestic abuse shelter closing

Published 1:05 am Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Opportunity House, the domestic violence shelter in Opp, is closing.

The shelter has offered area victims safe shelter, a 24-hour crisis telephone line, individual and group counseling and transportation for nearly two decades, while the organization’s court advocates prepared victims for legal proceedings and accompanied them to court appearances.

For years, staff has openly discussed the needed for additional funding to assist with operating costs and personnel. This is the last operating month for the organization.

Last fall, board members said that without a major influx of funding, the doors would close. Now, that prediction will come true.

“For nearly 15 years, Deborah Hooks and Beverly Jaynes have housed abused women and their children, provided them counseling, and helped them finish their educations and find jobs – in short, shown them that there is a better way of life,” said assistant district attorney Grace Jeter. “It is disheartening that ‘budget cuts’ have caused Opportunity House’s doors to close.

“Domestic violence is often learned behavior,” Jeter said. “People frequently go into abusive relationships because that’s all they knew growing up. Places like Opportunity House turn victims into survivors.”

The shelter employed two fulltime staff members. Operational costs averaged $5,000 per month for the shelter.

Montgomery is the closest abuse shelter, Hooks said in a previous interview.