To the Editor:
Recently, the Lake Geneva Regional News featured an article about the resistance facing the creation of a domestic violence shelter for the City of Elkhorn. The newspaper cited Julie Taylor, a member of the opposition, as saying, “We have grave concerns over our safety.”
She’s right, no one wants to face violence. Does she know, however, that every nine seconds there is another victim of abuse, according to the Partnership Against Domestic Violence? This danger is perpetuated when there is no place for the victims to go. Furthermore, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development says homelessness increases for those “victims” with “limited resources” (www.hudexchange.info/homelessness-assistance/domestic-violence/).
A quote from Safe Housing Partnerships expresses this need even further: “Survivors of violence face real barriers when trying to access safe housing – barriers caused by the power and control dynamics of abuse, a need for safety and confidentiality, economic instability, the effects of trauma, and the lack of affordable housing in communities. Nobody should have to choose between staying in an unsafe home and having no home at all” (https://safehousingpartnerships.org/).
How can we use fear to prevent us from helping those in crisis? Yet we don’t have to be fearful. Statistics show that shelters actually decrease violence in neighborhoods and improve housing values. Shannon Barry, director of Dane County’s Domestic Abuse Intervention Services, saw these statistics herself. Their shelter not only helped victims, but helped the overall community. If Elkhorn says, “No” to New Beginnings, I encourage other communities to welcome this shelter.