Organizations join to create more space for victims of domestic violence

By Tracey Bruce
For the Leader

Five years after Mary Daniels’ death at the hands of her estranged husband, Mary’s House of Hope – the organization family members created after the tragedy – and Comtrea are putting up $300,000 to begin an expansion of A Safe Place, Comtrea’s domestic violence shelter.

Daniels’ loved ones were galvanized to action after her Aug. 3, 2010, murder and started raising funds for a new shelter in January 2011. But now that the organization has reached its $100,000 fundraising goal, partnering with Comtrea to build additional housing at the existing shelter seemed like a better plan, leaders said.

Comtrea’s Board of Directors decided Feb. 8 to pledge $200,000 to begin the project, which is expected to cost about $1.3 million.

Early planning calls for breaking ground this summer on four to six housing units to provide lodging for individuals or families who need a place to stay while trying to get on their feet. Funding will determine how long it will take to complete the project.

“Everyone on the board (of Mary’s House of Hope) is very excited,” said Sylvia Daniels, Mary’s mother and vice president of Mary’s House of Hope. “We’re really appreciative of Comtrea’s board. Without their help and support we wouldn’t be here right now.”

Although the organization had originally planned to fund a separate shelter, members decided the most efficient way to bring help for victims of domestic abuse was to work with Comtrea to expand A Safe Place, said Kristy Neuman, president of Mary’s House of Hope.

“It was the only answer for us to get it built this quickly,” she said.

Liezye Feinburgh, left, of Jefferson County uses sign language to tell the crowd about abuse she suffered and help she received from “A Safe Place.” She spoke during a Feb. 6 Mardi Gras-themed fundraiser.

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