Eva has a long history of work with assisting women and children in Northwest Arkansas. Prior to joining Peace at Home Family Shelter, she was at Northwest Arkansas Women’s Shelter and before that, the Northwest Arkansas Children’s Shelter. She has also served on the Board of Directors of Northwest Arkansas Rape Crisis, and as a mentor at Be Great: Graduate, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s dropout prevention program. Since 1998, Peace at Home has had a close relationship with the Junior League of Northwest Arkansas.
What is the history of the shelter and what services do you provide clients?
The Peace at Home Family Shelter has been providing shelter and supportive services to victims of domestic violence and their children since 1977, and we were the first domestic violence shelter in the state of Arkansas. It is our mission to empower victims of domestic violence to survive and thrive by nurturing their self-determination and courage and to promote healthy relationships and compassionate communities through education, outreach, and advocacy. In 2015 alone, we were able to provide over 8,000 nights of safe shelter to victims in our community and provide the following:
- We staff a 24-hour crisis hotline for victims of domestic violence and members of the community. We provide information on services, advocacy and referrals, and in 2015, we answered 800 crisis calls from members of our community.
- We offer emergency shelter for women and children for up to 90 days. With a current capacity of 30 people at one time, in 2015, we provided safe shelter to 217 women and children
- All clients shop for free for in our thrift store, and we provide financial assistance as needed to families for things such as bus tickets, utility assistance, and vehicle repairs
- All families in shelter are paired with a residential advocate who works with the client to determine their barriers to independence, then assists the client in setting goals and supports the client in reaching their individual goals. Our outreach advocates work with approximately 500 families per year who have either transitioned out of shelter or did not need housing, but need services such as emotional support, referrals, or financial or legal services
- We are the only domestic violence shelter in the state of Arkansas to have an attorney on staff to represent our clients, and last year our Legal Department provided free assistance to 237 families on orders of protection, divorce, eviction and other issues.
- We offer weekly support groups in English and Spanish to survivors in a group/peer environment. We also offer support groups for children and art groups for adults and children.
- For families who need more than the 90 days of shelter, we offer a transitional housing program offering up to 12 months of financial assistance for housing and intensive case management to help these families stay independent and violence-free. We make regular presentation to school groups, doctors, law enforcement, clergy and community groups to raised awareness of domestic violence and provide and education about healthy relationships, bystander intervention, and how to make referrals to our shelter.
When did your partnership with the Junior League of Northwest Arkansas begin and how important is their work to your mission?
The Junior League of Northwest Arkansas has been a committed partner to Peace at Home Family Shelter since domestic violence became the League’s focus area in 1998. For almost 20 years, the Junior League of Northwest Arkansas has organized its membership to support Peace at Home Family Shelter through volunteer events, donation needs, and by raising awareness about domestic violence. Some project highlights include: hosting our annual Easter Egg Hunt for the children in shelter, sponsoring Departure Packs filled with items needed for a new home for families leaving shelter, providing Birthday Boxes filled with decorations, cake mixes, and other items so the children in shelter can have birthday parties, and making a gift of $40,000 to the Peace at Home Family Shelter’s expansion campaign. Once the expansion is completed, there will be a new Junior League of Northwest Arkansas sitting area to recognize and honor the League for everything they have done to support Peace at Home Family Shelter.
With the expansion of your facility, how many more clients do you anticipate being able to serve?
Once the expansion of our emergency shelter is completed, we anticipate being able to provide safe shelter to up to 20 additional women and children at one time, bringing our total shelter capacity to 50 individuals. Over the course of a year, the expansion will make it possible for Peace at Home Family Shelter to provide safe, emergency shelter to an additional 100 women and children escaping violence in our community.