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Providing a safe space for victims of domestic violence

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WILLIAMSPORT, LYCOMING COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Each year, more than 10 million men and women in the United States are subjected to domestic violence. That’s according to Social Solutions, a company that tracks human service organizations. A local women’s shelter in Lycoming County is trying to provide a safe place for these victims.

Members of the YWCA in Williamsport are hoping to receive some extra cash so they can continue providing emergency housing for people fleeing domestic violence.

“There’s bad things going on and things can escalate and get out of hand, so you got to have a place to go,” Michael Roan of Williamsport said.

Wise options at the YWCA is a safe haven and source of support for the people of Lycoming County, giving help and hope to those surviving domestic violence, sexual assault, and other violent crimes.

“Really we’re just giving individuals the tool to live better lives and there are a lot of other programs who are doing similar work, but not directly aimed towards victims,” Amber Morningstar, the Program Director at the YWCA said.

With that housing comes great responsibility, which is why leaders are in need of some extra help. The YWCA is looking for additional residential units. And has already applied for a grant.

“The funding we applied for through ESG, which is emergency solutions grant, through the county that is for additional staff members to help coordinate with landlords, provide case management, counseling, life skills, classes, and things like that, so the individuals can become self-sufficient,” Morningstar said.

The Lycoming County Commissioners are also stepping in to help.

“If they’re successful in getting the money, we’ll give them $52,000,” Commissioner Jack McKernan said.

According to McKernan, this is a crucial item on the county’s agenda.

“There’s not a lot of organizations that are out there, and it’s a very specialized need,” McKernan said.

There are currently 11 residents living in the Wise Options Housing provided by the YWCA and few more referrals were received on Monday. The community says they have an idea where additional resources can go.

“There’s a lot of housing in the area that is sitting vacant because of lack of students, so they could do something with that, pick up a couple of those houses, keep them occupied,” Michael Roan said.

Funding for rentals is roughly more than $100,000 and for additional staff members, the YWCA applied for a grant for more than $50,000.

Anyone interested in becoming a landlord and providing a rental space can reach out to the YWCA Liberty House Program.


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