To the Editor:

I am in full support of the New Beginnings proposed shelter.

I have been a permanent resident of Elkhorn since 2000. I own my house and enjoy my subdivision and my neighbors.

New Beginnings has served approximately 700 domestic violence victims in each year for the last five years! In 2017, they helped an additional 309 victims of sexual abuse in this county. Seventy-five percent were children! This is not something we can turn away from and pretend it does not exist.

The people that oppose the proposed shelter have made statements that are just not true. One of their concerns is safety for those would be living next to this safe haven. Our community has so many instances of domestic abuse that keep happening. These abusers could be your neighbors now! I know my home is not equipped with cameras, state-of-the-art surveillance systems, etc., to keep me safe. New Beginnings would be installing these systems to keep the victims safe as well as those who live downtown. The homes next to the proposed shelter were next to the Walworth County jail for years. Inmates were transported to and from the jail at all hours of the day and night. Where was the opposition then?

I think that having the shelter as a “known” shelter has many benefits. When a shelter is in an unknown location, having someone hanging around outside the building would not draw attention. But if the community knows that the shelter is there, and that we care about those individuals inside, we can help the police by calling with any concerns we are seeing. Having the shelter downtown also has many benefits. The opposition would like to see the shelter out where the courthouse is now — which is a few miles outside of Elkhorn. Do you want these families to be walking in to town for a gallon of milk? I would not want to see that. There are many convenience stores close by, as well as schools, library, churches, restaurants and parks.

New Beginnings is a non-profit organization that has been given the greatest gift of a donated building. How can they possibly not use this opportunity to open a much needed shelter in Walworth County? I wonder if those who oppose the shelter would rather see this building sit empty — like is has for the past four or five years? These people need our help. Please remember that sometimes there are children involved in these scary situations. They deserve our help and our support as well as adults who find themselves in a situation that makes them afraid to go to sleep at night.

Please, do your research and get the truth. I know that in each of our hearts, supporting those in need comes before property values or imagined dangers. We need to speak up and get involved and see that kindness matters. It matters to those involved and it matters to our own lives.

Cathy Willis