The Newnan Times-Herald

Local

Welcome House reboot: New name, no house


  • By Sarah Fay Campbell
  • |
  • Dec. 29, 2017 - 1:51 AM

More changes have come to Community Welcome House, which serves local victims of domestic violence. 

The organization is now known as the Coweta Domestic Violence Resource Center, and the house itself is up for sale. 

A new website, cowetadomesticviolence.org , has recently become operational. The crisis line phone number remains the same – 770-304-0966. 

In October 2016, it was announced that Community Welcome House would no longer serve as a shelter for domestic violence victims. Instead, the focus would be on providing services for domestic violence victims so that they can stay in their homes and in the community. There were always services provided to the women staying at Community Welcome House, and many of those services continued after the organization stopped functioning as a shelter for women and children. 

Then-Executive Director Maureen Coates said last year that Community Welcome House had seen a decline in the number of women needing a shelter but an increase in the number who needed resources. 

There was also a financial reason – operating the house cost approximately $30,000 a month, and there was no government funding. Coming up with that kind of money every month had long been a challenge. 

Right now, the massive house serves as an office for one employee, and space for a food pantry and other storage, according to Sam Anders, chairman of the organization’s board of directors. 

Anders said the eventual goal is to house the resource center and the organization’s thrift store, New Beginnings, in the same space – preferably in downtown Newnan. The thrift store’s current space on East Washington Street isn’t quite big enough for what the board envisions.

“We’re rebranding the Community Domestic Violence Resource Center,” Anders said. “The mission and goals of the organization are going to stay the same.”

“We’re looking at diversifying and being able to provide as many resources as possible for the community,” Anders said. 

As a shelter, Community Welcome House always had to be hidden – the location was kept a secret. But now, the organization can have a more public face. 

“People will be able to find us,” Anders said. 

There could be computers for domestic violence victims to use, and offices and meeting areas. 

“The idea is to meet the individual’s needs where they currently are,” Anders said. “We want to be able to provide more services rather than just somewhere to sleep at night. The goal of the organization at the end of the day is still providing resources to victims of domestic violence… that encompasses a lot of things.”

The Domestic Violence Resource Center operates the crisis hotline, 770-304-0966, which is answered 24/7.

Staff provides assistance and information for those who call in the crisis line. 

“Then anything that comes from that crisis call, any kind of help that we can provide, then we do it that way,” Anders said. 

It’s been an eventful few years for the organization, which was founded in 1991. In October 2014, it was announced that the house was closing for some needed repairs, with board members saying the work would take three to four months. 

But the closure was about more than just repairs, though they were certainly a need. Finances, and operational changes, were also an issue. Community members and local businesses donated time, money and materials to help get the house ready. 

After 10 months, the house reopened. But it was open for just 14 months before the decision was made to stop operating a shelter.