In operation for 32 years, The Shelter of Gaston County celebrates the many changes that have helped to mold our history. The first shelter opened in April, 1982 after a group of concerned citizens mobilized to create a refuge for battered women and their children here in Gaston County. The facility was called the Battered Spouse Shelter. For thirteen years, domestic violence victims used our services. It became apparent in the early 1990’s that the facility needed extra bed space and was not handicapped accessible. Many residents used this two-story, three bedroom, one bath house and found support through the Social Worker and Relief Shelter Operators.
In 1995, through the gracious support of the Gaston County Board of Commissioners, Gaston County contributed $150,000. The Shelter raised another $150,000. We were able to construct and move into a new 4,013 square feet facility built in a confidential location. Eventually our name was changed to The Shelter of Gaston County, a Battered Women’s Residence and Resource Center. During these years, our staff continued to slowly grow and delivery of more specific services began. Special thanks is extended to Karen Calhoun, Allied Services Administrator whose vision is to increase our program and staff in order to continue serving the growing needs of battered women and their children requesting our assistance.
In 2011, construction began and was completed in 2012 with the renovation of the existing shelter and the additional space, which is comprised of two client bedrooms, a teen playroom, a support/meeting room, additional office space for increased staff, a client bathroom, a laundry room and a staff bedroom. With the updated changes, we have been able to improve the safety, accessibility and functionality of our new facility. Now with this addition, Gaston County has 5,700 square feet of a trauma-sensitive environment for our residents, with safe sanctuaries where they can begin their healing process from all that they have endured.
Through a capital campaign with so many special friends and donors of The Shelter including private contributions, cookbook sales, events, foundations, businesses, groups and others, over $575,000 was raised for the project. In essence, this growth and support represented a circle of special friends, volunteers, men, women and children uniting together and sharing a huge responsibility. The outcome has truly been incredible. While our statistical numbers continue to increase, so does the number of lives changed forever. The Shelter has not been empty in bed space in ten years and not a single day goes by that we do not receive a domestic violence call for assistance or someone requesting information.
All these years, we have operated under the division of Gaston County Department of Social Services and we have worked tirelessly to make a difference in the lives of battered women and their children who are struggling to leave the violence and turmoil and to renew their lives free of danger. Not only is it important to provide a shelter for our community, but it is also vital to increase public awareness, to build partnerships, to advocate for those voices unheard and to continue communicating the seriousness of this epidemic affecting men, women and children.
The Mission of The Shelter of Gaston County is to empower victims of domestic violence by providing emergency shelter, advocacy, and support on their journey to an abuse free life; and to lead the community in raising awareness of domestic violence and its devastating consequences.
We offer a wide variety of services to the community including a 24- hour crisis line, emergency safe shelter, court advocacy, information and referral, linkage to community resources, bilingual services, safety assessment and planning, support groups ( on and offsite) free training for health and human service professionals in our community and assistance in filing victim compensation paperwork. Within The Shelter, we offer our residents all of the above services as well as counseling, parenting classes, temporary child care, assistance with transportation, health classes and individual services provided by Case Managers, Child Care and Transportation services that are provided part-time with funds raised by grants and “ Run for the Money”.
Daily we see Gaston County single women and women with children who have been abused by an intimate partner. These families enter our doors sometimes with fear and uncertainty. We feel it is imperative to make the facility acceptable and the surroundings serene. Since both in-kind and monetary donations play such an important role, we depend upon the community for help with these essential needs. There is always a Shelter Wish List available posted on our website www.TheShelterofGastonCounty.com on face book or at The Shelter by calling 704-852-6047 or 704-810-6492. You can also make a difference by using your talents and gifts to make their stay with us a positive and memorable one. Whether you prepare an evening meal, teach a class, sponsor an event, host a fundraiser, attend an event or purchase gift cards for special needs, all of your efforts are greatly appreciated.
The Shelter of Gaston County does not receive United Way funding. Various grants help to supplement some salaries and special programs. Over the years, we have been fortunate to receive support from Gaston County Board of County Commissioners and from Gaston County citizens. Our hats are off to each of you for remembering battered women and their children. Their hopes are to have normalcy in their lives, to find peaceful paths, to receive services and assistance and to feel safe and secure in their own homes.
My staff and I have been enriched by the love and genuine concern our donors show our residents. It is through their gracious support that we can in return provide the assistance needed to touch, challenge and inspire others to walk the journey without violence and harm.
Please check our Shelter Timeline
from 1982 until the present for the many accomplishments made by so many over our 32 years in service to the community.