Tuscaloosa Nonprofit Needs Help to Finish New Shelter for Domestic Violence Victims
Turning Point Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Services is moving from its original location to a new facility, but a rise in materials and project costs has moved the local non-profit to seek community help for donations to finish the work.
The organization, which has worked in West Alabama since 1979, provides services and resources for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. The organization also runs an emergency shelter to help victims escape abusive situations.
Turning Point's executive director, Derek Osborn, said the organization is a vital asset for the West Alabama community and hopes with some support, they can continue their mission of "ending violence and building peace."
Osborn said supply chain issues and inflation caused them to exceed their budget for construction costs. The organization also has to meet additional requirements because of the residential requirements that come with running the shelter.
"Since we're doing residential, we basically have the same requirements that hotels have with the sprinkler system, fire alarm, monitoring and more," Osborn said. "Plus we have added security measures that we have to take due to the nature of our business. Our contractors have had a lot of holdups due to COVID and price changes so we need whatever people can do to help. There's no amount that's too small. Everything helps."
Kathy Oths, a board member for Turning Point and chairperson of the building committee, said the organization received a small endowment to begin the construction, but with help from the community, the organization can continue to provide services to the people who need it most.
"We're desperately in need of more funds to finish the project so we're hopeful to get support from the community in this regard," Oths said.
Osborn said an increase in participants in their programs caused the organization to outgrow their long-term location on McFarland Boulevard.
"We serve six counties for domestic violence in the West Alabama area and nine counties for sexual assault," Osborn said. "Our shelter pretty much stays at capacity so we are obviously in need of a larger space so we can take in more clients."
Osborn said the lease at their current location expired and the organization will relocate to a larger space in an undisclosed location, where the administrative office plans to be completely moved in within the next month. The shelter will take a few additional months to complete.
At the request of the organization, the Tuscaloosa Thread will not directly disclose the exact address of the new facility to protect the victims and children who benefit from the services offered by Turning Point.
During the transition phase, the organization is still fully operating, with its 24-hour crisis line available to assist anyone in need. The existing emergency shelter will continue to operate while the new shelter is built.
Their services also include counseling, victim advocacy, case management, job placement, support groups, community outreach and multiple other services available to anyone that does not need emergency shelter, all of which are offered free of charge.
Osborn said community members who would like to assist with their efforts can make donations through checks mailed to P.O. Box 1165, Tuscaloosa, AL 35403, using Venmo by searching "Turning Point-AL" or by calling their crisis line at 205-758-0808 to see how they can offer additional assistance to the organization.