Wilmington domestic violence shelter looks to rebuild after Florence

Domestic Violence shelter damage
Domestic Violence shelter damage(WECT)
Updated: Oct. 19, 2018 at 4:19 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - It’s so quiet at the domestic violence shelter in Wilmington that it’s perhaps best described as eerie. The only real noise is the faint sound of fans trying to dry out the place.

The shelter is in shambles after Hurricane Florence.

“It’s just so hard to visualize,” said Executive Director Mary Ann Lama. “We did have the county inspector over, who said we could move forward with repairs.”

This building is a home for people who, like the shelter, are battered and bruised. Those scars are sometimes hard to see and even harder to heal so the symbolism in this shelter is not lost on anyone.

The walls of the place are covered in mold. The roof has holes. The ceilings have come down in many rooms.

It’s empty except for furniture, left to rot, and the toys, clothes and other items left behind by people who had to leave in a hurry.

“We can rebuild, but we need help," Lama said. “Not just us, but a lot of non-profits in and around Wilmington. We’re worried there’s a lot of donor fatigue."

The shelter has space for 19 beds for women, children, and in some cases men trying to flee an abusive situation.

Now, those people are being housed elsewhere. The need doesn’t end just because the building’s empty though.

“It’s going to be a long time before that shelter’s back open,” Lama said. “We’ll need money to rebuild and to house those people.”

The dollar figure to restore services is still undecided. Estimates have to come in and the paperwork filed.

The director says if you crunch the occupancy numbers of a typical week it costs more than $150,000 to just pay for clients to be relocated and feel safe.

Click here to learn more about how you can help the Wilmington Domestic Violence Shelter and Services Inc.

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