A sophisticated domestic violence shelter opened Thursday afternoon through a virtual ribbon cutting ceremony in Rochester, New York. Willow Domestic Violence Center opened the new haven for violence victims who need a fortress in secrecy and away from their abusers.
The state-of-the-art facility cost an astounding $8 million for its construction. Per Rochester Business Journal, the center received $5 million from Homeless Housing and Assistance Corp.
Philanthropists like local business owners, Ed Shill and wife Molly Branch Shill, shouldered the remaining expenses for the facility and the family granted $500,000 as aid. In gratitude, the center's name was bestowed unto the family — the Shill Family Building.
The new safe haven for domestic abuse victims boasted of its 49 beds that family members can stay in. Each of the family is entitled to have their own private quarters and bathroom, and they can take their pets in safety, too, per Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.
President and CEO of Willow Jamie Saunders said that the center does not only cater for the abused. Many babies in the center grew up there right after the mothers gave birth, in hopes that the children will be spared from the abusive life they lived.
The center's authorities also made sure the building would be equipped with security measures because the center receives frequent, if not daily, death threats. Hence, they installed over 60 security cameras in the building and all of its windows were bulletproofed.
Saunders said they need to make a fortress to protect the victims. According to the report, over 40 percent of the women murder victims got killed by their partners. If they managed to stay alive, the most dangerous time for them would be the moment they left their abusive relationship.
Last year, the old building served as a sanctuary for over 20,000 people. The center anticipated that the need will be even bigger, yet they are faced with a potential budget slash in the coming year.
President Donald Trump's administration planned to cut back on funds for domestic violence victims based on the 2018 budget proposal. Per WXXI News, Department of Justice might be reduced by 4 percent, which will affect programs under Violence Against Women Act.
Saunders said in the report that this would be catastrophic for those people in need. She added that with the impending cut, more lives will be at risk.