Letter to the editor
Turningpoint needs your help
September 26, 2014
“My mom is asleep, so I am just going to watch the camera to make sure he doesn’t come here. I will stay awake and watch so she can sleep.”
Above is a quote from an eight-year-old boy who is temporarily housed at Turningpoint: the domestic and sexual abuse shelter in River Falls. The boy refers to the abuser who caused his mother to seek help.
In a July 10 letter to the editor of the River Falls Journal, Mary Halada described her reasons for joining a committee to raise funds for the shelter’s renovation so that it can accommodate 17 more beds.
I’m a member of that committee and also share her concerns. As she said, the goal of the Light House Project -- the name of the renovation effort -- is to raise $120,000 to convert the upstairs of the Second Chances building on Main Street into staff offices. This allows staff to move downtown, and creates room for more beds at Turningpoint.
The need is dire.
Turningpoint has not added shelter space since 1989, but yearly numbers of victims in beds at the shelter have increased from 3,276 in 2010 to 3,933 in 2013. Over that same period, an average of 15-20 shelter requests per year have had to be turned down because there was no room. That requires Turningpoint to spend an average of $1,000 per year for motel vouchers to accommodate those turned down. A motel is not a safe haven for victims of abuse.
Would it be possible for the various organizations in Pierce and St. Croix counties, such as the Lions, Rotary and Optimist clubs, plus UWRF student organizations, to pool their efforts behind such an effort?
I plan to find out.
As Mary said, “having a safe place to call home is critical.”