But that isn’t the end of the story. Elizabeth Robinson, staff member and community engagement coordinator, had a proposal to reopen the shelter and collaborate with funding agencies about what was required to receive grant funds, which had been previously frozen.
From there, the Hope House board of directors appointed Robinson as interim executive director, and the shelter was reopened in November. The organization is currently seeking monetary and in-kind match donations, all of which are tax-deductible.
“Since November, miracles have happened for Hope House,” Robinson said. “Our shelter and a majority of our services are operational. We secured our grant funding sources from the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice and Virginia Department of Social Services. Smaller grants funders were on the verge of withdrawing support, as well. Grant funders have agreed to continue funding us since we had major changes within our organization.”
Changes include moving out of administrative offices in Gate City and having staff work at the confidential shelter. Another major change was the hiring of a fiscal manager and increasing the involvement of the board of directors.
“Hope House of Scott County has an incredible story of survival — just like the survivors and victims we serve,” Robinson said. “An outcry of support from our county and surrounding counties, including Tennessee, has led to our success. They are our support system, as we are a support system to our clients.”
Hope House of Scott County offers a variety of services, including those listed below:
• 24/7/265 hotline
• 24/7/265 shelter to victims and their children who are in imminent danger
• Emergency transportation to both in-shelter and out-of-shelter victims
• Safety planning
• Information and referral to appropriate services for all clients
• Support groups, peer and facilitated
• Court accompaniment
• Public awareness and community education
• Volunteer training and education
• Alice’s Pet Program
“The primary goal of our program is to provide a safe, respectful and supportive environment that will empower survivors of sexual and domestic violence to rejuvenate their lives and build a positive future free from violence,” Robinson said. “The clients we serve do not all come from Scott County. Many referrals come from Sullivan and Washington County, Tennessee, Southeast Kentucky and North Carolina. We serve roughly 150 clients per year.”
Hope House of Scott County is receiving much-needed support from the community. The town of Gate City presented the organization with a $500 check, and North Fork Catering donated more than $500 in premade food for in-shelter residents.
Natural Tunnel State Park gave over $250 in nonperishable food, and general fundraising was held at Five Guys in Kingsport, during which the shelter received over $200.
In addition, Komatsu Mining Company held its second annual Day of Giving, during which employees donated $5,000 worth of miscellaneous supplies that were desperately needed at the shelter.
How to help
Much more assistance is needed, as the organization’s general fund balance has been depleted. Items currently needed include:
• Gift cards to local grocery stores or gas stations
• Diapers size three and up
• Pull-ups (any size)
• Baby wipes
• Twin size mattress protectors
• New pillows
• Cleaning supplies, including Lysol
• Toddler bed
• Toddler car booster seats
• Nonperishable food items
• Monetary donations for medicine, animal care/boarding for in-shelter clients and general funds
If you would like to help or know someone in need of help, contact Hope House of Scott County by phone at (276) 386-1373 or by mail at P.O. Box 1992, Gate City, VA 24251. Visit the organization on Facebook or at www.hopehousesc.org.