New domestic violence shelter can offer help to more victims

by: Erica Bryant Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A local agency unveiled a gift for the community on Thursday -- a new domestic violence shelter.

Safe Alliance said it can house more than four times the number of the old shelter.

A woman living at the old shelter shared the emotions of moving to a new temporary home.

“He would never hit my face. He would put bruises on my back and kick me,” the woman said.

She said she left the abuse from her child's father and escaped to the domestic violence shelter.

“Just the entrance itself coming here, you have to walk down (a) long, dark alleyway. You just feel like a victim,” she said.

With just 29 beds, it's been the only refuge for victims in Mecklenburg County for more than 30 years.

A rare look inside shows the facility is worn down, but now, there’s an upgrade.

“It's a huge difference, just by the appearance,” she said. “Before you even step in it.”

The new Clyde and Ethel Dickson Shelter should be ready for women and children to move in next week, with space for up to 130 people. It has a huge new kitchen, laundry and living rooms.

Jane Taylor, the shelter director, said more room means victims can stay longer.

“We have had to limit the stay here to 30 days, but that won't be the case. We'll be able to individualize it. It will depend on what you need,” Taylor said.

Needs like more counseling, legal, health care and career planning services will be on site.

“Access to different programs to get you on your feet, to help you move forward and not want to go back,” she said.

For more information about the shelter, click here.