Domestic Violence results in more serious injuries to women than auto accidents, muggings and rape combined.
Family Service’s domestic violence shelters – Clara House in Greensboro and Carpenter House in High Point – serve women and their children who are victims of domestic violence. Clients may use shelter as a safe place in an emergency, or as transitional housing, staying up to two years.
Shelters are often the first step in a family’s rehabilitation. They provide the framework for victims to take control of their lives, the stability to allow a family or victim to build their future as a productive member of our community, and the connections to other services to assist in that process.
The impact shelters make is two-fold: First, they offer safety to victims who may find themselves in a lethal situation. Second, they provide a stable, supportive environment in which a victim and their family can rebuild their lives.
Our community also benefits in two ways: First, potential tragedy is averted when a client in a highly lethal environment is provided with a safe place. Secondly, many clients leave shelter as self-sufficient citizens of Guilford County.
2013 – 2014 Program Stats
- Last year, our domestic violence shelters provided more than 12,000 nights of safety for battered women and their children – an average of 33 women and children each night.
- More than 2,400 people called our 24-Hour Crisis Line last year. That’s one caller in crisis, every three and a half hours, each day of the year, 24-hours a day. More than half the callers were victims of domestic violence.
- 85% of the women who resided in the shelter for at least 10 days returned home to a safe and violence-free living environment.
The mission of Family Service of the Piedmont’s shelter program is to provide temporary, emergency housing to battered women and their children. The shelter program is part of the Victim Services Division of the agency which also provides counseling and advocacy services, including:
• Crisis Line: Family Service of the Piedmont operates a 24-hour crisis line. Anyone in crisis is welcome to use this service, which provides information and victim advocacy. It is via the crisis line that women are admitted to either shelter.
• Counseling Services: Both shelters have case-manager/ therapists on staff. They work out of the shelter and provide individual counseling and group therapy. Child play-therapy groups and parenting classes are also available.
• Court Advocacy: Family Service of the Piedmont has a large staff of victim and court advocates. The residents of Carpenter and Clara Houses are connected with these victim advocates for help attaining 50-B (restraining) orders, going to court, and other legal advice.
• Case Management: While residing at either shelter, a woman will meet weekly with the case-manager/ therapist and set goals to improve her situation or meet identified needs. These include getting food stamps, finding a job, applying for public housing, and locating childcare.
• Continuation of Care: When a woman prepares to leave Clara or Carpenter House, the staff assist her in locating housing, securing donated furniture, and preparing for life on their own. Once a woman and her children leave the shelter, they are welcome to return to Family Service for individual and group counseling.
About Our Shelters
- We provide temporary emergency shelter for women and children fleeing abusive situations.
- Each shelter can hold up to 26 women and children.
- Length of stay varies, as it is determined on an individual basis by our case managers. Some women stay only one night, some stay for three months. An average is 30 days.
- Both shelters have playgrounds and activity rooms for the children. Their mothers must supervise children at all times.
- For everyone’s safety, we have a curfew: 8:00p.m. for women with children, 9:00 p.m. for single women.
- Unlike many homeless shelters, we do not require our residents to be up or out of the shelter by any certain time, nor do we restrict where they can go. However, in order to remain in the shelter, residents must work towards goals set by themselves and the case managers.
- Both shelters have excellent alarm systems. The back door of Carpenter House is made of bulletproof glass, and the bottom windows of Clara House are shatterproof. The time immediately after a woman leaves her abusive partner is the most dangerous for her.
- All residents of the shelter do chores to maintain the facility.
- Each woman is responsible for feeding her own family; we do not provide meals or require women to cook together.
- The shelter provides new residents with emergency food, toiletries, clothing, diapers, over-the-counter medicines, linens, and other immediate needs. We then connect women with community resources and government agencies to supply them further.
- Everything from furniture to food in our shelter has been donated, and we rely on continued donations to maintain the quality of our services.
- We have excellent working relationships with local law enforcement and other community resources. We coordinate with them frequently.
- Staff members are on duty and in the shelter 24 hours a day.
- Both shelters are very “home-like” environments, unlike dormitory-style homeless shelters. We have birthday parties (complete with cake and gifts) for our residents, and try to make women and children feel respected and special by treating them with dignity and compassion.
- Domestic violence is a complicated problem. The complexity of societal and emotional pressures does cause many women to return to their abusive partners. Unless a woman has violated our most important rules, we allow her to return to the shelter as many times as she needs.
History of our Shelter Program
In 1978, Clara House was established in Greensboro and was only the second shelter of its kind in North Carolina. Dedicated by Governor James Hunt, the shelter was named in honor of Clara Jane Thornton Peck (1862-1926) and Clara Ione Cox (1879-1940). These two women were pioneers in Guilford County in their concern for the poor and disadvantaged. The current Clara House was purchased by Family & Children’s Service (known today as Family Service of the Piedmont) with leadership grants from the United Way of Greater Greensboro, The Junior League of Greensboro and the Sternberger Foundation. The shelter can house 26 women and children.
A group of concerned citizens and the YWCA of High Point established the High Point Women’s Shelter in 1977. Hotels were used as “safe-houses” until December 1979 when the first house to be leased for the shelter was renovated and opened. In 1985, Family Service of High Point took over operation of the shelter, incorporating it into a continuum of programs for victims of violent crime. Following a successful capital campaign, a new shelter was built and opened in 1997, named The Carpenter House after its benefactor Mr. & Mrs. James Carpenter. The Carpenter House occupies 5,000 square feet and has the capacity to house 27 residents.
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