Help Is On The Way For Domestic Abuse Victims In Ellis County
ELLIS COUNTY – According to Jennifer Salzman, Executive Director at The Heights Ellis County Family Resources, one in three Texans are turned away because of lack of services directly related to domestic abuse.
While it may be just a number for some people, for those in need it is a grim reality.
Salzman said, with that grim reality comes feelings of fear, anxiety, isolation, panic and even despair.
“These are a few words that may come to mind this year,” Salzman said. “These are also the words that inspire me to be intentionally focused on my new job.”
Salzman said since Ellis County does not have a shelter and only limited resources to handle domestic abuse issues, that is all the more reason a place such has The Heights Ellis County Family Resources is so necessary.
“Over the years, from what I have been told, there have been a few attempts to open a shelter in Ellis County,” she explained. “Unfortunately, shelters are very complicated and require a much larger collective effort to be successful long term. Since Ellis County has not had a shelter, The Family Abuse Center in Waco has taken our county under their wing. They even have a staff position in our county, which happens to have a current job opening.”
Salzman added “The Family Abuse Center is excited to partner with The Heights as we launch our shelter and resource center. This partnership is valuable to The Heights as we develop since The Family Abuse Center has been serving our county for years.”
The Vision: A Resource Facility That Provides Shelter & Meets Needs of Victims of Domestic Abuse
The Heights vision was actually cast when a meeting was held in November 2019 with a selection of diverse county leaders. It was decided at that time there was a real need for a resource center like The Heights. From there, a task force was established from among the leaders at the meeting. This first meeting eventually launched into naming a Board of Directors for The Heights Ellis County Family Resources.
Overall, the vision for the Heights of Ellis County Family Resources is to offer residents a full resource facility that not only provides shelter, but that meets the many needs of victims dealing with domestic abuse.
“The Heights is a public safety initiative that does homicide risk assessment and links together the other wonderful organizations serving our county to provide resources to domestic abuse victims,” Salzman went on to explain.
With its main location in Waxahachie, the Waxahachie Chamber of Commerce has currently opened their doors for use until another building is made available.
Get Involved, Volunteers Are Needed
The Heights will also continue to partner with The Family Abuse Center in Waco to meet client’s shelter needs. The additional services needed by domestic abuse victims will be available through The Heights Ellis County Family Resources. Through a centralized intake, victims are assigned an advocate to work alongside them and help guide them through various needs. Those include but are not limited to risk assessment, safety planning, and establishing a service plan.
“By launching services now, The Heights will gain a more specific and clear understanding of our victim’s needs in our county,” Salzman concluded. “This will be valuable information to provide and build the right facility to meet as many needs as possible.”
The Heights offers free advocacy days every second Friday of each month from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Waxahachie Chamber of Commerce building at 102 YMCA Drive. Appointments can be scheduled at 855-318-2820 and more details can be found at http://www.theheightselliscounty.org.
Want to learn more about how to help? Reach out via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.