Senator Ben Hueso presents $200,000 grant to WomanHaven

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California Senator Ben Hueso holds the grant check along with (L-R) Judith R. Klein-Pritchard Director of Legal Services and DeDe Guillory -Chavez board member, as WomanHaven staff look on.

EL CENTRO – California Senator Ben Hueso presented to Woman Haven, Friday,  a $200,000 dollar grant from the Department of Housing and Community Development, Emergency Solutions Grant, to help fund their emergency shelter for women who are homeless due to domestic violence.

Senator Hueso also spoke of Kathy’s Law, a bill he helped pass. The law will allow judges to order electronic monitoring of abusers, in addition to restraining orders in certain domestic violence cases. The law allows the victim to be notified if the abuser is in her living vicinity.

WomanHaven has serviced women and children in the Imperial Valley for over 40 years, providing shelter and support for victims of domestic violence and their families.  Most domestic violence victims, the majority women, become homeless when leaving an abusive home, explained DeDe Guillory-Chavez, WomanHaven board member and a survivor of domestic violence.

“In recent years, the center has expanded these services to help victims with permanent housing,” stated Guillory-Chavez in the ceremony. “Emergency Solutions Grants are used for housing programs to help break the cycle of homelessness and poverty that affect victims of domestic violence. We help victims and survivors make their utility payment or rent payment, fix credit, retain (jobs) and get in a position where they can get a job.”

During the 2015-2016 fiscal year, WomenHaven helped 271 woman and children through their emergency shelter.  The shelter moved 141 victims to a housing program and followed up with permanent housing.

“I came to this shelter with my daughters of five and three years of age,” said America, a beneficiary of the services. “Because of domestic violence, my daughters and I became homeless.  I didn’t know where to go, I asked around and was told of this shelter.  The shelter has helped me with housing and giving me the opportunity to further my education. I am attending college to major in psychology.”

“When we got here, my daughters and I were sad and depressed. With all the help and counseling we have received, we are in a much better place,” America continued. “It even reflects in my daughters’ little faces.  They are no longer sad.  When my daughter said, ‘So mom, when two people get married the husband has to hit his wife?’ I knew that I had made the right decision on leaving the abuse I was in. She knows that that behavior is not acceptable.  Everything that I am doing now, I thought it was impossible, thanks to this shelter for giving me all the help and support we needed. I am able to give my daughters a better future so they don’t have to experience what I experienced.”