Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley announced the state has awarded $1.8 million in grants to help people in danger of becoming homeless. The Emergency Solutions Grant program, made available by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, is administered through the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs.
“We were just really ecstatic. It will help us open up our programs to so many more victims,” said Susan Shipman, executive director of the nonprofit 2nd Chance, which received $169,000 through the grant. The agency assists victims by providing — among other things — housing, counseling, transportation and legal aid.
Shipman said the Talladega County office, to be located in Lincoln, will provide a much-needed resource.
A 2012 study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention found that 1 in 3 people in the U.S. will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. Talladega County has a population of about 89,000 people, Shipman said, and there are likely thousands there in need of a resource like 2nd Chance.
“Statistically, we know there’s a ton of people who are suffering at the hands of an intimate partner,” Shipman said. “We’re pretty darned excited about this.”
Shipman said it’s much more likely that victims who have recently escaped or are planning to escape domestic violence situations will go through with the decision to leave the relationship if they know about resources that can help them.
Without enough income to pay for housing, victims of domestic violence often become homeless as a result, Shipman said.
“You add children to the mix, and it makes it even more difficult for a single person to pull that off financially,” Shipman said.
Shipman said 2nd Chance operates largely on grants, and will spend between $650,000 and $750,000 this year helping victims of domestic violence.
The agency has grown in recent years, taking on services as other agencies close their doors, Shipman said.
In 2008, 2nd Chance added Etowah County to its service area after the domestic violence program Rose Haven closed because of financial difficulties.
In January 2012, 2nd Chance took on services for sexual violence victims after the Northeast Alabama Crisis Center – formerly Daybreak – closed.
Shipman asked that anyone in need of help call the 2nd Chance toll free hotline at 1-800-650-6522.
In addition to 2nd Chance, other grants in the $1.8 million state program announced Wednesday include:
•$30,000 to Marshall County Commission
•$180,000 to city of Tuscaloosa (Tuscaloosa County)
• $180,000 to Shelby County Commission
•$180,000 to city of Huntsville
•$180,000 to city of Birmingham
•$180,000 to city of Gadsden (Etowah County)
•$132,866 to Montgomery Area Coalition for the Homeless (Montgomery, Autauga, Bullock, Elmore and Lowndes counties)
•$40,000 to YWCA Central Alabama (Jefferson, Blount, Shelby, Walker and St. Clair counties)
•$180,000 to Alabama Rural Coalition for the Homeless (Barbour, Bibb, Blount, Butler, Chambers, Chilton, Choctaw, Clarke, Clay, Cleburne, Coffee, Conecuh, Coosa, Covington, Crenshaw, Cullman, Dale, Dallas, Escambia, Fayette, Geneva, Greene, Hale, Henry, Houston, Jackson, Lamar, Lee, Macon, Marengo, Marshall, Monroe, Perry, Pickens, Pike, Randolph, Russell, Sumter, Talladega, Tallapoosa, Walker, Washington and Wilcox counties)
•$180,000 to Safeplace Inc. (Colbert, Franklin, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Marion and Winston counties)
•$105,710 to AIDS Action Coalition of Huntsville (Madison, Morgan and Limestone counties)
•$105,710 to Penelope House Family Violence Center Inc. (Mobile County)
Staff writer Eddie Burkhalter: 256-235-3563. On Twitter @Burkhalter_Star.