Laurel Center will seek $700,000 grant
Posted: March 14, 2013
The Winchester Star
WINCHESTER — A local nonprofit organization that helps victims of domestic and sexual abuse — and their children — has been approved to apply for a $700,000 state grant through the Frederick County Board of Supervisors.
The Laurel Center (TLC) helps victims in Winchester and Frederick and Clarke counties by offering mental and physical health support services on site and at local medical facilities such as Winchester Medical Center.
The Board of Supervisors voted 6-0 at its meeting Wednesday night to apply for a Community Development Block Grant through the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development on behalf of TLC.
The center needs the funds to help offset the cost of its new facility under construction on North Cameron Street. Its capital campaign has raised more than $2.2 million of the project’s estimated $4.3 million price, according to Becky Allanson, the TLC board’s treasurer.
TLC now operates in a “pre-Civil War” building that doesn’t offer an attractive location for victims to turn to for help if they’re in need, Allanson said following the board’s vote.
“With the new building and the new security, we feel more confident about having a public space,” she said. “So far, for the past 25 years, it’s been a very private face that we’ve had to present to the public. This will allow us a higher profile in the community.”
More than 20 local residents attended the board meeting to show support for TLC.
Cindy Hethcoat, a forensic nurse examiner at WMC, said after TLC’s appearance before the board that the community has a great need for such an organization.
“They work with the victims of these horrible crimes — rape, sexual assault, domestic violence — and all the work that they do is free and confidential,” she said. “There’s not a group that I could think of that’s more deserving of this money. [Crime rates] are growing all over the country and we’re not immune to that. We have these horrific crimes in our own communit ... and we need even more capacity to care for these women and their children.”
Others who spoke in support of the grant application included Frederick County Sheriff Robert T. Williamson, Dr. Jack Potter — director of emergency services at WMC — and Evan Clark, a Winchester city councilor and director of Intervention Services of Virginia.
The new facility will double TLC’s emergency shelter capacity, and the organization expects to shelter more than 400 persons annually.
The new building contains sufficient space for TLC’s 18 programs, which provide assistance to more than 2,000 persons annually, according to information presented to the board.
More than 200 endangered women and children were turned away last year due to lack of space at the facility.
Allanson said she does not know when the center will learn if it will be awarded the grant.
Board of Supervisors Chairman Richard Shickle abstained from the discussion and vote because his wife is a center board member.
Attending the meeting in the Frederick County Administration Building were Chairman Richard Shickle, Vice-Chairman Bill Ewing and Supervisors Charles DeHaven Jr., Gary Lofton, Gene Fisher, Christopher Collins and Bob Hess.
— Contact Matt Armstrong firstname.lastname@example.org