Shelter could open in 6 months

Published 12:05 am Friday, August 7, 2015

Domestic violence board making progress toward opening doors

The reorganized, newly named domestic violence shelter is still six months out from opening, but officials said Tuesday that much progress is being made to get the doors opened.

The shelter, which used to be called Opportunity House, is now called Bethesda House.

The Rev. Cindy Howard, who is one of the organizers, said landscaping has been done on the outside to make the yard look more presentable.

“Inside, we’ve had the HVAC system and electrical checks,” she said. “We have a broken water pipe we have to get fixed.”

Additionally, the board has been working with the IRS to ensure that all the paperwork is updated and in order to allow them to keep their 501 (c) 3 tax-exempt status.

Howard said the board has contacted various other shelters to get feedback.

“We’ve contacted other shelters to see if they will share their bylaws, policies, staffing and more with us,” she said. “It’s no secret the records we have may not be complete and we just want to make sure that it is done right.”

Howard said there will be start up costs involved.

“We want to make it a safe house,” she said. “So we’ll need a better fence, security. We need a new playset for the children and a new refrigerator and freezer.”

Howard said they are also in the process of raising funds and organizing a budget, so that contributors can have a better idea of what their costs will be.

Howard said thankfully, the shelter has a lot of usable furniture.

“It seems like it’s taking a really long time,” she said. “But we want to make sure it’s done right.”

Howard said they hope to get enough money to hire some part-time staff to be able to open the shelter.

“We’ve gotten a lot of feedback from people,” she said. “We have people calling and asking for help. The closest shelter is in Dothan. So, there’s an urgency to get this opened.”

Anyone interested in making a donation can mail it to P.O. Box 397, Andalusia, AL 36420.