For the City Times
New shelter slated to open late summer
MARSHFIELD — A Marshfield nonprofit agency for victims of domestic violence will move into the former transitional shelter, according to the directors of two Wood County victim services agencies and Marshfield St. Vincent de Paul.
Personal Development Center, Inc. (PDC) of Marshfield will purchase the facility at 505 E. Depot St., from St. Vincent de Paul for the cost of the land value — $80,000. The building and current contents are being donated, according to Renee Schulz, Executive Director of PDC.
The facility most recently operated as the Frederic Ozanam Transitional Shelter, which closed in December, due to basic safety concerns for the staff and residents and financial constraints, according to a Dec. 8 media release from the St. Vincent de Paul Board of Directors, which ran the facility.
“St. Vincent de Paul has always strived to provide the homeless in our community with both shelter and the services needed to transition into a healthy lifestyle,” said Dawn Albanito, a member of the St. Vincent de Paul Board of Directors.
PDC and St. Vincent de Paul have worked together for many years to provide safety and services to community members in need, and PDC and The Family Center have worked as “sister” agencies to provide services to victims of domestic abuse.
Since the closing of the transitional shelter, Personal Development Center, St. Vincent de Paul, and The Family Center have worked together with other agencies to discuss all the opportunities available at the facility and the best way to provide comprehensive services to residents facing homelessness.
“Ultimately, it was decided that a partnership between PDC and Family Center would ensure that the original purpose and intent of this facility as a community shelter was continued far into the future,” Schulz said.
Personal Development Center and The Wisconsin Rapids Family Center have a long history of providing services to victims of domestic and/or sexual violence. The Family Center has had shelter services available since it opened in 1984; PDC has been providing a variety of advocacy and support services for victims since 1977 but has not had a shelter program available.
“For 40 years, PDC has provided a wide range of services, but immediate, short-term shelter for victims and survivors continues to be a significant barrier,” Schulz said. “With the addition of this program, we are going to be able to add that shelter component, and expand our transitional services, so that we will be better able to ensure safety for our community members fleeing domestic violence, Schulz said.
The closing date is set for April 1, with current PDC programs moving into the facility May 1.
“The building will require some modifications for increased security (for victims); therefore, our goal is to open the shelter portion for residents by late summer,” Schulz said.
“The new facility will be a community project,” said Sue Sippel, Executive Director of The Family Center. Sippel has a long history of managing shelters for victims of domestic violence, including Manitowoc, Stevens Point, and currently at The Wisconsin Rapids Family Center. The role of The Family Center will be to work with PDC staff as they develop the shelter facility of their program, Sippel said.
“As we move forward, we will formalize the partnership between PDC and FCI to ensure we have the best possible knowledge, resources, and training to serve the community, Schulz said.
“The project’s success will depend on continued support from the community through financial contributions, volunteers, and the donation of in-kind items and services so that our agencies can do our part to help those in need in our community, Schulz said.
“The end result will be a safe shelter and a safe, healthier community,” she said.