March 10, 2015 – Springfield, MO: Harmony House, the only emergency shelter in Springfield/Greene County for victims of domestic violence, recently finalized year end shelter and hotline statistics for 2014. Reflecting the increase in local domestic violence assaults, the 2014 data shows a dramatic increase in demand for domestic violence shelter and support services and validates that there is a tremendous amount of unmet need in this area.
Harmony House has been operating at capacity every year since 2009, sheltering 110 women and children virtually every night of the year. In addition to providing emergency shelter, the agency has continued to increase services to victims through the community outreach program which provides case management and support to domestic violence victims who are living in the community. However, the 2014 data reveals that there is still a tremendous amount of unmet need for domestic violence emergency shelter services in the community. For the fifth year in a row, the number of women and children turned away from shelter due to lack of space increased yet again. In 2013, a total of 1,717 women and children were turned away from shelter. In 2014 that number jumped to 2,326, representing a 35% increase in a single year.
The 2014 figures show that the agency provided emergency shelter for 491 women and children, representing a total of 30,942 bed nights. In addition to providing emergency shelter, Harmony House also provided shelter residents with a total of 16,225 meals, as well as basic clothing, personal hygiene items and a variety of support services, such as case management, court advocacy, childcare, support groups and more.
In addition to operating the emergency shelter at capacity, Harmony House saw a significant increase in the demand for outreach case management and support services in 2014. A total of 221 individuals were served through the outreach program, which provides case management, court advocacy and other support services to individuals residing in the community, representing a 40% increase in demand for outreach services from 2013 to 2014. Calls to the 24-hour hotline increased as well in 2014.
The Harmony House 2014 internal data mirrors local data and state comparative data that indicates Springfield/Greene County has a significant number of people living in or fleeing from abusive home lives. Lisa Farmer, Executive Director of Harmony House, says “While we are grateful that Harmony House is able to help a good many of the domestic violence victims, it’s heartbreaking to turn away such a large number of women and children and know that, in many instances, we can’t refer them to another safe, secure location. It’s my hope that the continued media attention will lead to an increase in community awareness and support for local shelter and prevention efforts.”