CHICAGO (CBS) — In a little more than a year, there should be a new shelter available for victims of domestic violence.
WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports the shelter, to be built in partnership with Women In Need Growing Stronger (WINGS), Metropolitan Family Services, and the Greater Southwest Development Corporation, will be named “WINGS Metro,” and be built in the Chicago Lawn neighborhood on the Southwest Side.
“That’s significant, because this is an area that has seen a really heavy volume of domestic violence calls from police, as well as to our help line, and there’s not currently a shelter anywhere in that area,” said Department of Family and Support Services Commissioner Evelyn Diaz. “A lot of people don’t realize that domestic violence happens much more than you would imagine.”
According to the mayor’s office, it’s the first expansion of domestic violence shelters in Chicago in a decade.
WINGS Metro will be a suite-type facility serving up to 100 families a year, and feature 40 available beds.
“Two families share a suite, they share a bathroom. It lends a little bit more privacy and comfort for the families at a time when they’re in really important transition,” Diaz said.
The new shelter will increase the total number of domestic violence shelter beds in the city by 36 percent to 152.
Diaz said the shelter will have multiple floors, with retail space such as a coffee shop or resale store on the ground floor. Shelter residents would be able to receive employment training or jobs at the shop.
The upper floors would house both interim and permanent housing, as well as an activities center.
The city will help fund the $4.2 million in construction costs with $1.8 million in settlement money from a lawsuit against the VIP Gentleman’s Club. The city also will donate $500,000 worth of vacant city land. The city’s private partners were working to raise funds for nearly $3 million in additional construction costs and other expenses.
The shelter is set to open in June 2014.
Anyone who wants more information about support services available to victims of domestic violence should call the domestic violence hotline at 1-877-TO END DV or 1-877-863-6338.