The Russell County Crisis Center has not been fully operational for several months. Now they are asking the public to help them reopen their doors. They’re pleading now for help from the community to raise $50,000.
The Russell County Crisis Center serves as a shelter for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, but since October the center has not been able to house any victims. Mik Cole is the interim director of the center. She says right now they are working with the State of Alabama, but before they can apply for grants they need start-up funds.
“In order to staff and in order to take care of the necessities and the various utilities in length that we need to run the shelter we have to support that first and then get reimbursed for it,” Cole said.
Cole says the center closed in October due to lack of funding, restaffing and safety concerns. The center continued to provide other services, but that stopped a few weeks ago as well. Cindy Conner with the center says there is a huge need in the area for victims and their families.
“We’ve had over 200 domestic violent calls in October to January and that number only grows. You know it doesn’t get any better. We’ve had 80 cases of domestic violence going through Russell County courts,” Conner said.
Hope Harbour in Columbus has been helping the victims and families in Russell County since the shelter closed. Conner says the community is the key to fixing everything.
“It’s everyday that somebody needs that shelter to go to and we’re not there. And the only way to do that is for the business community, the private community, and Russell County to step up and get this shelter back open,”Conner said.
Conner and Cole say they would like to use the funds raised to be able to open April 1st which begins National Child Abuse and Sexual Assault Awareness Month.