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Cruz Bay
Wednesday, October 5, 2022


Family Resource Center, formerly known as Women's Resource Center, has faced many challenges since its founding in 1986, most of them relating to an ever-growing demand for services in the face of ever more precarious prospects for government funding.
None may have been as daunting as a challenge it faces now: notice from the Department of Health that — not immediately, but soon — it will have to vacate the premises its emergency shelter has occupied rent-free all these years.
Lee Vanterpool, Health Department spokesman, said the shelter, housed in a location not advertised to the public, will eventually have to move.
Health Commissioner Wilbur Callender "wants to centralize the offices of the Department of Health so we can improve services to the community," Vanterpool said. "We are currently working with the Family Resource Center to identify a space adequate for relocating the offices, but there's no hurry."
According to Family Resource Center executive director Michal Rhymer, the center needs to find larger quarters in any event, both for the shelter and for the agency's separate administrative and counseling center.
The offices and counseling operations have been housed for the last three years in a two-story structure just off Norre Gade behind what was once the old Frank's Bakery. The organization rents the building from a private owner.
"Since our shelter first opened in 1986, we have been providing a safe place where victims could find safety from an abusive situation," FRC executive director Michal Rhymer said. "We will continue to provide that help, but we must find larger quarters, for our shelter and for our offices."
One reason for the need to find larger office and counseling center space is the expansion of services in recent years to accommodate male clients and children who are themselves victims of violence, as well as the women and their children who have been served by the agency since it began providing services 13 years ago.
As for the need for more shelter space, the reason is simply that more individuals and families are in need of temporary protective housing due to domestic violence, sexual abuse and other crimes. At certain times of the year, the present shelter, which has 11 beds and a crib, is completely filled, forcing the agency to seek other arrangements for additional persons in need of emergency shelter.
"We haven't received an eviction notice," FRC board president Sheena Conway emphasized with regard to the Health Department's plan to reclaim the shelter space. "This move is not something we must do immediately. But we do need more room."
Conway and Rhymer say they would appreciate help from within the community to identify a safe, larger location for the shelter, as well as a larger and easily accessible space for the offices and counseling center.
Anyone with suggestions can call Rhymer at 776-3966.

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