SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - After months of waiting in limbo, not knowing if their safe housing would continue, residents at the Providence House Domestic Abuse Shelter in Shreveport found out that they will not lose their home.
Back in April, Providence House announced the shelter would close on June 30th due to a lack of funding.
Officials with the Shreveport Mayor's Office have confirmed that Project Celebration, a non-profit family advocacy organization based in Many, will take over the Providence House Domestic Abuse Shelter beginning July 1.
Sasha, a woman who was a resident at the domestic abuse shelter, said Tuesday was a day she had been waiting for.
"It was kind of a depressing moment and time for us because we didn't know where we were going to go," she said as she described the atmosphere at the shelter in April.
She said all the residents worried their safe haven would be taken away.
"We didn't know what we were going to do but we did stand on God's word that something would come through and something will happen and that's just what it did," she said.
Project Celebration, Inc. will operate the emergency shelter in Shreveport and also provide outreach services such as intervention and education in Caddo, Bossier, Natchitoches, Webster and Red River parishes. It will also replace Domestic Violence Education & Support in Natchitoches.
The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services will shell out $548,243 to Project Celebration to run its Taylor House Shelter in Many and the shelter in Shreveport. Last year, Taylor House alone received $188,573 in funding from DCFS.
"We have worked closely with the Shreveport mayor's office and community stakeholders to ensure a continuity of services in the Shreveport area following Providence House's announcement that it would not provide domestic violence services after June 30," DCFS secretary Suzy Sonnier said in a news release.
Total funding for all domestic violence service providers in the state is more than $6 million, an increase from last year. Project Celebration's funding almost tripled from last year. In the 2013- 2014 fiscal year it received more than $188,000 and received more than $548,000 for the 2014- 2015 fiscal year.
Mitzi Harris, director of Project Celebration, said it takes about $450,000 to $500,000 per year to run the shelter, so they'll also be looking to secure other community and state funding to help with the balance. They don't want there to ever be a possibility of a shelter house closing again.
"We knew without this shelter there would be a lot of chaos, a lot of going back to abusers and a lot of kids without their Moms," Sasha said. "You're saving a million lives in more ways than one."
With help from the shelter Sasha is now back on her feet. She has a full time job and her own place. It's a success story she hopes gets repeated time and time again.
"Let's prevent getting to that hopeless point, continue helping women, saving lives and saving children," she said.