July 9, 2020
Peace House Funded for two Federal Grant
Community Action has been funded for a new program. Peace House is a multi-service program for victims of domestic violence. While the CAC has been serving victims since the late 80’s when Brick House Homeless Shelter opened its congregate facility, the need for additional shelter was still there due to the Brick House often being full. Even when the Brick House was full victims were connected to other alternative shelter sites and provided with transportation. Approximately 70 victims a year were placed into their own housing through the agency’s Rapid Re-Housing program.
The Community Action Commission of Fayette County completed a community needs assessment in 2017. Community members, CAC clients, and partners were asked to rank the most pressing needs of the community. The 3rd highest need was a domestic violence shelter. That was because the former shelter had closed their doors. Community Action’s Planner, Christina Blair, spoke to the ITEAM (an interdisciplinary board run by Victim/Witness) in 2018 about what type of services and supports were most needed during the development phase of Peace House. The agency submitted grant applications unsuccessfully the first year, most likely due to a lack of an actual site for DV specific housing. In early 2019 the project partnered with Washington Court House Municipal Court and the Second Chance Program. After two years the project received word in late 2019 that the Office of Criminal Justice Services had awarded the agency a $48,000 grant to operate their project, Peace House domestic violence program. Peace House began operations in March 2020. Essentially, Peace House is a one-stop shop providing emergency housing, homeless prevention, care coordination, safety planning, crisis intervention etc. to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking. For a full list of services, please visit https://www.cacfayettecounty.org/peacehousedv/ and follow the new program’s social media @FayetteCountyPeaceHouse on Facebook.
The project is overseen by the Community Action Board of Directors, which is a tripartite board comprised of public, private and representative for the low-income community impacted by the agency’s services. This board meets on a monthly basis and has checks and balances in place to guard against mismanagement of funding. The agency also received word that it will be funded by the Department of Housing and Urban Development for additional funding to place survivors and their families into their own homes. While the contract has not yet been received, the agency anticipates launching that part of the program by next Spring.
The Director of Peace House, Halona McCracken has been working with victims for 10 years on a volunteer basis. Halona has previous training in diversity, inclusion, and equity from one of the nation’s top ten Pediatric Hospitals with 5 years of consecutive leadership in Safety Council, #OnOurSleeves advocate, employee engagement, unit council president and the years of continued training and service in one of the most globally diverse populations in Ohio. This experience gives her the unique ability to manage, train and direct the core of our program to care equally for all those that we serve. Chosen as a leader among her peers, Mrs. McCracken has spent half a decade working closely at the continued development of inclusion and cultural awareness and was recognized as Employee of the Year for her work with patients, family, visitors and staff as a first point of contact for all at her previous employment. She also served on the CAC board as the domestic violence representative, being a survivor herself. She was voted into the position by women residing at the Brick House Shelter to represent survivors of intimate partner violence.
When the position at Peace House became available Halona applied and was hired to lead the program. She was replaced on the board of directors by Laura Jones who was voted in as the representative of current Peace House clients. Halona McCracken said “It is important to us that the community knows that a donation to Peace House will benefit survivors and their children directly. Every dollar raised through donations or received through grant funding is tracked by our Fiscal Officer, her two assistants and the board’s financial committee. Board members at large have the authority to request backup and more information on every single dollar spent by agency staff. Rest assured, we run our project with the upmost integrity.”
To volunteer or donate to Peace House, contact Halona McCracken at firstname.lastname@example.org. Victims may contact the crisis line at 740-505-0090. Also, for more information on domestic violence services in the community, download the Sheriff’s App.