Providence House Welcomes Congressman Kim Among Esteemed Guests
On October 31, 2023, our Providence House team ended Domestic Violence Awareness Month on a high note by welcoming a number of esteemed guests, including New Jersey Congressman Andy Kim, for a tour of its recently renovated Burlington County safe house.
“We were so happy to have Representative Kim, Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Children and Families (DCF) Christine Norbut Beyer and Burlington County Commissioner Daniel O’Connell visit Providence House and be able to show them the changes and improvements that have taken place here,” said Mary Pettrow, Service Area Director for Children and Family Services. “In addition to walking them through the renovations, we were able to explain the full range of services we offer survivors of domestic abuse, from food and clothing to specialized children’s programs to legal advocacy. Because, in addition to providing families a safe place to stay, we provide them with the tools and skills they can use to break the cycle of violence.”
“I am grateful to the team at Providence House for showing me around their safe house and sharing more about their important work in Burlington County. As we close out Domestic Violence Awareness Month, it is important we continue these conversations about how to best support survivors of domestic abuse and make sure people of all backgrounds and needs have access to help. Local efforts like Providence House go a long way to uplift people and families in our local communities, look after the most vulnerable, and make sure anyone can get the care, support and resources they need and deserve,” said Congressman Kim.
Commissioner Norbut Beyer said when the department of looks at where it needs to allocate its funding, domestic violence issues are always at the top of the list. “It is always about the safety of the children and the safety of their parents.” She said DCF, responding to a spike in domestic abuse cases during COVID, has invested more in domestic violence services, including funding an evidence-based batterers intervention program and providing housing navigators in each county to help survivors find a safe place to live.
Burlington County Human Services Director Shiria Simpson, Burlington County Human Services Deputy Director Malikah Morris, Burlington County Community Development and Housing Division Head Jennifer Hiros and Supervisor of the Victim Witness Unit of the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office Amy Congdon also visited the safe house and spoke with members of the domestic violence services team today.
Creating a More Trauma-Informed Space for Survivors
Prior to COVID-19, the Burlington County safe house featured large dormitory-style, communal bedrooms. Public health protocols for social distancing instituted during the pandemic greatly reduced the number of people who could stay in the house. Many survivors stayed in alternative safe locations, which created logistical challenges for the Providence House team — they needed to deliver food and clothing to sites spread around the county.
The renovations to the safe house included adding some new living spaces and reconfiguring the bedrooms to create smaller rooms with doors in between, allowing the safe house to better accommodate families of different sizes. “In addition to adding flexibility,” said Pettrow, “the new design provides a more trauma-informed space. The smaller bedrooms give survivors more privacy, which benefits their emotional well-being.”
Providence House provides a wide range of services for survivors of domestic abuse, including individual counseling and support groups, counseling for children, legal advocacy and safe houses. The 24-hour hotline in Burlington County by calling 1-877-871-7551 or 609-871-7551 and in Ocean County by calling 800-246-8910 or 732-244-8259.
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