CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- The Compass Center has three areas of service: teen health education services, domestic violence services, and self sufficiency services.

  • The grant will cover domestic violence housing resources and affordable mental health services for victims and their children
  • The grant will allow them to help about 30 survivors and their children a year transitioning to an apartment or new home for up to 120 days
  • The new program goes into effect early next year

Their goal is to help empower clients with information and advocacy.

As the Executive Director Cordelia Heaney says, "the reason that we’re called Compass Center is because we want to help people navigate their own journey to safety, self-sufficiency and health.”

And some of their services for domestic violence survivors is now expanding thanks to a new grant by the Governor's Crime Commission that totals to be about $350,000 over two years.

Heaney explains, “It was a competitive grant process that we applied for, so we applied for funds specifically to meet two unmet needs that we see in our community. One being domestic violence housing resources and another being affordable mental health services for victims and their children.”

And that's what the grant will cover.

With it, they believe they can help about 30 survivors and their children a year transitioning to an apartment or new home for up to 120 days.

There will also be new therapy services for about 27 survivors and their children with that grant.

“Funding's always a challenge for domestic violence services and I think that part of the challenge in Orange County has been that there’s a perception that because this is seen as a well-resourced county that we already have all of the services that we need or there’s this idea that domestic violence doesn’t happen here," said Heaney.

Right now there is no domestic violence specific shelter in Orange County.

Erin Hamilton, who is the Director of Domestic Violence Crisis Services, says that up until now, they would have to refer clients to other counties.

“The need is just really great because there's this back log of just people that’s needed this support and resources for years. So being able to offer that to clients will really change a lot of interacting services and resources that they also may be in need of or wanting to receive but housing has maybe been a barrier to receiving those services,” said Hamilton.

The center says there are many reasons why it's difficult for a person to leave an abusive or violent relationship.

Heaney says:

"We see so often how intersecting issues of intimate partner violence, financial challenges, and education are, how intersecting they are, that for us to be able to talk about issues around domestic violence we also have to be able to talk about financial abuse. 99 percent of survivors of domestic abuse have experienced financial abuse as part of that experience so whether that’s being told that they’re not allowed to work by their abuser, or that they have to be on an allowance, or they get stalked at work, or their partner ruins their credit by running up bills that they can’t pay in their name; those are all financial tools of power and control that an abuser can use and so, so often people ask well why didn’t they just leave this relationship, it’s because financially they’re not able to."

The new program goes into effect early next year.

The Compass Center has a 24-hour hotline you can call at 919-929-7122.

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