Bethesda House seeks funding from county
Published 9:15 am Thursday, September 22, 2022
“Bethesda House is the only domestic violence shelter in the area. The next closest shelters to us are north in Montgomery, east to Dothan, or west to Baldwin County. We’re small but mighty. Bethesda House is the only nationally accredited domestic violence emergency services shelter in the state of Alabama,” Executive Director Dr. Alison Jackson-Wood said.
Bethesda House opened its doors to residents on Nov. 28, 2019, and completed requirements for national accreditation through the Council of Accreditation this year.
Jackson-Wood added that it took over a year for the Bethesda House to achieve its national accreditation.
“It was expensive, heart-wrenching, and time-consuming, but it was important because what matters to us is to be the very best domestic violence/sex trafficking shelter that we can possibly be no matter our size. My husband is a pastor and always says when he serves small churches, do what when you’re small when you envision doing when you’re big. When we went up for accreditation, the site visit, which is always the last step, kept asking why we did this voluntarily. We came away from their visit meeting over 300 standards and are really proud of that.”
Bethesda House provides services at no charge to residents, who can earn income while living in the shelter by working in the social enterprise. Its mission is to provide a safe place for women and children who are escaping domestic violence or sex trafficking.
“We don’t receive state or federal funding and don’t have grants. We’re completely supported by our communities of Andalusia and Opp. I met with the City Council in Florala last week and hope they will be supporting us. I’m also reaching out to folks in Butler County because I received some residents from there, and if we’re going to continue taking them in, I need support from them as well. I’m asking the commission to consider the Andalusia pledge, which is $35,000 as of last week,” she said.
There are currently four beds for women, two beds for children of age, and two portable cribs for infants and toddlers. There have been 52 women and children served to date. The Bethesda House is staffed 24 hours a day with 13 staff members, including the executive director and 12 part-time advocates.
“In the coming year, we will need to employ additional staff such as intake drivers, court advocates, and case managers. We offer a safe shelter and food, clothing replacement, identification replacement, transportation, and a personalized plan for services.”
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