Domestic violence shelter receives grant

The YWCA West Central Michigan was one of 45 domestic violence shelters in the state to receive grants from the DTE Energy Foundation totaling $ 420,000.

“The reputation and work of these shelters gives us confidence that the support and services they provide to survivors are second to none, and the funding we provide will allow them to continue to help so many in need. Said Lynette Dowler, President of the DTE Foundation. “We are not only providing assistance to a strained shelter system struggling to cope with the impact of the pandemic, we are highlighting an issue that is affecting many of our friends, family and neighbors. “

Charisse Mitchell, CEO of the YWCA West Central Michigan, said the organization had received just over $ 11,000 to continue supporting the community.

“The programs and services we offer range from emergency shelters, transitional support and housing to legal advocacy, support groups, individual and group counseling, (and) supervised and supportive parenting time and exchanges. She said. “Our nurse examiner program provides advocacy support and forensic examinations to victims of sexual assault. “

The YWCA West Central Michigan serves more than 4,000 people of all genders, including children. Mitchell said the organization will use the grant to continue supporting individuals and families, especially those in the shelter.

“There are a number of supports beyond a warm bed and a safe place to sleep, but to help them make the transition to independent living,” she said. “We know that, especially now in Grand Rapids where the housing stock is quite limited, it used to be difficult to find safe and affordable housing. This challenge is even greater now. We know that the moratorium on evictions and things like that are lifted and people are trying to go back to work, to work, and to find daycare and help their children to make the transition to school, that is. is therefore for continued support for the many people who will stay in our shelter and seek support throughout the year.

Mitchell said the pandemic has had a multifaceted impact on the organization and the families it serves and that it has had to adapt. While most places were closed during the first months of the pandemic, the shelter remained open. The organization purchased new technology and supplies such as personal protective equipment and air purifiers. He upgraded the staff so that the facility could be regularly cleaned and thoroughly disinfected.

The organization has been able to virtually provide therapy, advocacy services and support groups to families. It also provided direct assistance to victims of domestic violence and others. Calls related to domestic violence doubled during the early stages of the pandemic to the shelter’s 24-hour hotline. Nationally, domestic violence calls increased 8%.

“Domestic violence shelters save lives,” said Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist II. “They provide essential services to survivors and come to them with help and comprehensive support during some of the darkest times of their lives. Governor (Gretchen) Whitmer and I are extremely grateful for the work the DTE Energy Foundation continues to do to support domestic violence shelters across Michigan. We are confident that this third round of grants will go a long way in supporting professionals working on the front lines to help survivors and communities and end domestic violence in Michigan. “

The YWCA West Central Michigan also helped families who participated in its transitional housing program and lost their jobs by providing educational support, rental assistance and utilities, as well as food and supplies for them. children who needed to buy tablets, laptops and access to Wi-Fi.

“We certainly hope that businesses and organizations will follow DTE’s lead and find ways to connect and be a part of this work that provides support to people who are in pain, who need to know that they are not. alone and there are resources out there, ”Mitchell says. “We want to be visible and as accessible as possible, and DTE is helping us to do that. “

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