Laura Mann gave a brief background on the shelter explaining the dream she and Dean Byers had in 1999 for a safe place in Marshall County where women and their children could escape the nightmare of domestic violence.
As the former director of the county’s Victims Assistance Program Mann said she had to take women 30 miles east of their home community to Warsaw. She said, “I would have women go back to their abusers because those 30 miles seemed like 3000 to them without their support network of family, friends and work and their children having to change schools.”
Since the reality of her dream, the shelter opened in 2008 and it’s never been empty. The average census at Heminger House is 11 people per day with their highest numbers at 27. Over the years they have serviced 535 women and 417 children.
Mann explained a drastic reduction in State and Federal Gants over the last number of years. It totals nearly $65,000 annually.
Mann asked for a donation of $12,000 to help with daily expenses such as heat, AC, food and staff wages. She said, “It costs almost $3,000 per week to keep the doors open.” She was seeking assistance this year and again for next year. Mann also indicated that Mayor Senter will request $7,000 in the 2015 budget to help fund the Heminger House Shelter for Women and Children.
Councilwoman Judy Stone asked about the average stay of clients to which Mann said, “The average stay is 45 days and we can offer a two week extension if the client is getting close to relocating.” She said without the Housing Authority some local landlords are willing to work with us on security deposits.
Councilman Rex Gilliland suggested seeking discretionary funds from the Prosecutor.
Councilman Matt Hassel asked if the shelter was open to any Indiana resident. Mann indicated that their doors are open but Marshall County residents always have a preference.
The Council took her request under advisement.