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Building Safe Lives for Victims of Domestic Violence

Kentucky First Lady Jane Beshear announces plans to build supportive housing for domestic-violence victims who have been living in shelters. She made the announcement Tuesday at GreenHouse17, the shelter near Lexington. Credit: Greg Stotelmyer.
Kentucky First Lady Jane Beshear announces plans to build supportive housing for domestic-violence victims who have been living in shelters. She made the announcement Tuesday at GreenHouse17, the shelter near Lexington. Credit: Greg Stotelmyer.
October 14, 2015

LEXINGTON, Ky. - In her eight years as Kentucky's First Lady, Jane Beshear has become known as a tireless supporter of ways to help victims of domestic violence. Tuesday at GreenHouse17, the shelter that provides emergency housing and services to victims in central Kentucky, Beshear announced a $4.5 million building project.

Construction of 24 units of supportive housing will help victims of intimate-partner violence move toward safe, productive lives, Beshear said.

"They come with nothing, so they have to start all over again and they go through the process here in the shelter," she said. "But then, you can't just send them back. You've got to be able to give them a way to change their lives to become independent."

A dozen cottage-style duplexes will be built on the grounds of the GreenHouse17 shelter. The other 12 apartments, at two Lexington locations, will be rehabbed.

Darlene Thomas, the shelter's executive director, said the project relies on low-income housing tax credits and low-interest loans, along with government and private investor support. For victims who have been living in a shelter, she said, the two biggest obstacles they face are finances and housing.

"So when you've come out of crisis and you're learning to stabilize all that support that's wrapped around you," she said, "this is the natural next step."

Thomas says the beauty of the new transitional housing is it will still provide support, but with a lot of independence.

"Eventually, within two years, because that's how long people can stay in our units, for up to two years, they'll be able, ideally, to be able to move from that supportive housing into their own independent housing and, you know, go on with their lives."

GreenHouse17 is one of 15 shelters across the state. Combined, they will help about 25,000 survivors of domestic violence this year.

Greg Stotelmyer , Public News Service - KY