The Story of Our Future
The Battered Women's Shelter, established in 1977, is the only agency in Summit and Medina Counties serving the emergency housing needs and advocacy services necessary to aid in the immediate and long term needs of those victimized by domestic violence or sexual assault. Since the early 1980's the shelter has used one old Victorian home on the east side of Akron as an emergency shelter with 24 beds. During the mid 1990's more and more domestic violence victims found the strength to leave their homes, consequential the Step II Shelter (a four story apartment building) was opened on the west side of Akron, providing an additional 44 beds. Subsequent to that we also opened a crisis shelter near the square in Medina so that families would not have to be transported across County lines in search of a safe place to reside. By 2012, these three shelters provided 24,910 safe nights of shelter for women and children who otherwise would have remained with their abusers.
Both of the shelters in Summit County were built prior to 1930. These buildings, which are the heart of our organization's mission, are costing us more and more in repairs and maintenance each year. In 2006 an opportunity crossed paths with our Executive Director, Terri Heckman, she saw a small ad in the Akron Beacon Journal that described the need for the Navy to downsize, closing the base on Dan Street in North Hill (near to Juvenile Court). Terri wrote to the Department of the Navy and told them that she had a vision of combining the two Summit County Battered Women's Shelter facilities and the two Summit County Outreach Centers into one large campus-like facility.
In 2010, the Department of the Navy contacted Terri and indicated that the agency had been selected to take ownership of the Navy base, however, at that same time; Mayor Don Plusquellic decided that the City of Akron could better use the Navy facility for some of their needs and vision. Discussions ensued and the Battered Women's Shelter agreed to look at other buildings in the County. An agreement was made that the BWS Administrators would find an appropriate building and then the City would acquire the building for the organization in exchange for the Dan Street facility.
In the fall of 2012, the Battered Women's Shelter found a building and property located at 974 East Market Street (the old Middlebury Manor Nursing Home). This facility had recently closed its doors. As a nursing home, the rooms lent themselves very nicely to the needs of a shelter. The Battered Women's Shelter began reorganizing and renovating in November 2012. By February 2013, the two community centers (serving victims not needing residential protection) moved into the renovated facility. Thus the first step in efficiency was completed. At this time we are working with consultants and architects on the renovations for the shelter annex of the building, which we plan to open in 2016. This is a 50,000 square foot building that will eventually house all of our services to victims of violence. This will be the new home of the Battered Women's Shelter and Rape Crisis Center for many years to come.
For more information, contact Melissa Hamlin, Director of Advancement
330.860.5624 | firstname.lastname@example.org