By Kayleigh Rahn
Because eventually the healing continues, Tuscola’s BETHS Place has received a bit of HOPE from a coalition against domestic violence based in Coles County.
BETHS Place (Because Eventually The Healing Starts) opened in April 1999 following a community effort including volunteer labor, supplies, and services. The Douglas County shelter was opened in Tuscola to help those who were victims of domestic violence with the goal of stopping the cyclical acts of violence.
However, the shelter closed its doors on March 23, citing a lack of clients in the previous six months.
That’s when the Board of Directors turned to HOPE of East Central Illinois.
The working relationship between BETHS Place and HOPE began in January when the Charleston-based agency extended its crisis hotline services to the Tuscola shelter, said HOPE Executive Director Kelly Hardy and Direct Services Coordinator Angie Hunt.
“That led to the conversation, when BETHS Place decided to dissolve, when (the board of directors for BETHS Place) approached us about taking over the building and assets of the organization,” Hardy said.
HOPE acquired the keys Monday, June 18.
“HOPE has been an organization since 1979,” Hunt said. “We have a long-standing history of providing quality services to victims of domestic violence.”
The agency provides confidential shelter, counseling, referrals and the 24-hour hotline to domestic violence victims.
“BETHS Place dissolved and turned everything off from their end on the business side, and our goal now is to promote that we do very similar services,” Hardy said.
A portion of the state funding BETHS Place received was split among the three nearest domestic violence organizations, which allowed HOPE a bit of extra funding, but it wasn’t enough to continue running the facility as a full-service shelter at this time.
For now, BETHS Place will continue as a satellite office of HOPE of East Central Illinois where programs will be provided including counseling and legal advocacy.
“There’s not really much change for us, but we have an additional office in Douglas County now,” Hunt said. BETHS Place will be the only satellite office for HOPE though previously, HOPE had a satellite office in Paris, though that was closed several years ago.
“It’s a matter of expanding our services in Douglas County and making sure we can reach everyone out there who needs our services,” Hunt said. “Eventually we would very much like to have a support group in this area, and the hope is that someday we would be able to run this as a shelter again if the funding is there. The good thing is we have always served Douglas County, so we have always had clients from Douglas County. We have filled that duel purpose while BETHS Place was here as well. I think the only real difference is that we now have an actual location in the Douglas County area. The shelter in Charleston has had Douglas County residents staying in the shelter, for us, I think we are going to see that need, as I think we have.”
The full story can be found in the Wednesday, Aug. 1 edition of The Tuscola Journal.