Killeen: Domestic violence shelter set to open
Domestic violence has led to a steady number of fatalities in Texas over the years, averaging over 100 annually.
The only victim emergency shelter in Killeen is Families in Crisis, which staff said is often over-capacity.
A domestic violence outreach center, Teach Them to Love Outreach Ministries, plans to open a second shelter to meet the need.
Lexi Davis has been a volunteer since the center began in 2014. She was also a victim of abuse since and early age, marrying in order to get out.
"When he started abusing me I was conditioned to that. I was used to it. It was the norm for me,” she said.
She and other volunteers at Teach Them to Love recognize the need.
“In this area, there's not enough places like this more of us are needed and it needs to be a community effort,” Davis said.
Which is why the center’s director and retired combat veteran of 21 years, Lolita Gilmore, is expanding the center into a shelter.
"We’ll start off with 20 beds and we hope by this time next year we will have another location,” Gilmore said.
Not only providing victims with a roof over their head but giving them solutions.
"We want to be able to afford them the opportunity to engage in our program services and understanding how to deal with the stress and understanding the anger,” Gilmore said.
Which means assisting with job placement and with emotional support from social workers and family therapists in an effort to prevent victim’s from returning to a similar situation.
The shelter is set to open May 18th in downtown Killeen.
Services are referral based and potential clients must be victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or sex trafficking.
The shelter is in need of every day supplies such as bedding, towels, toiletries, and paper plates and utensils. To reach out, contact Lolita Gilmore at (254) 781-9900.