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CASA shelter for abused will move to bigger, better building

September 14, 2000

CASA shelter for abused will move to bigger, better building



By DAN KULIN / Staff Writer


CASA's domestic violence shelter in Hagerstown will move into a new $1.4 million home by the end of October, CASA Executive Director Vicki Sadehvandi said Thursday.

The new building will have more shelter space plus five transitional apartments for CASA shelter clients.

"We are so thrilled," Sadehvandi said. "Not only is it a relief for the board and staff that we can provide a more supportive environment for our clients, but it's bright and roomy for them and that's important. ... It's such a tremendous improvement."

The CASA shelter has been in its current location since 1985, and over the years the interior has been damaged, Sadehvandi said. She said renovations were considered but cost estimates ranged from $300,000 to $400,000, and in the end it was decided the group would be better off with a new and larger facility.

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The existing shelter has 30 beds, six cribs and no apartments. The new shelter will have space for up to 42 beds, eight cribs and five fully furnished, one- and two-bedroom apartments, Sadehvandi said.

With the apartments, CASA can better help clients make the transition to being self-sufficient, she said.

"It's common for the abuser to control all the funds so the abused never had experience with holding a job and the finances. ... We work with them so they learn what reality really is," Sadehvandi said.

Construction of the new shelter was funded with a $200,000 grant from the city and $1.2 million in state grants, she said.

Plans for the new shelter began in 1995 and Sadehvandi had hoped to move into the building within two years.

She said the delay probably happened because "some people were not aware of all the special needs of a shelter."

Sadehvandi said there are no plans for the existing shelter once CASA moves out.

She said CASA will keep its administrative offices on West Baltimore Street.

The location of the new and existing shelters are not being disclosed for security reasons.

CASA, which stands for Citizens Assisting and Sheltering the Abused, is a nonprofit organization formed more than 20 years ago. The organization offers a variety of counseling programs and operates a 24-hour hotline.

In 1999, about 630 women and children stayed at the CASA shelter and the hotline received more than 18,000 calls.

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