DALLAS (KRLD) – Dallas-based nonprofit ‘The Family Place’ has opened the first shelter in Texas that’s specifically for men who are victims of domestic violence.
“We’ve been open a month, and we already have 8 men in the shelter,” says Family Place CEO Paige Flink. “Some of those men are dads, and brought their kids. So there’s also 6 kids being cared for at the shelter.”
Before the Dallas shelter opened, men in need were lodged and cared for in hotels for however long was necessary.
“We had a hotel that we worked with, but that really wasn’t the best way to do it,” says Flink. “We’ve seen the need increase, and decided opening a shelter was the best thing to do.”
The shelter proved to be a good business decision as well.
“We’ll be able to pay off a building in a few years, instead of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on hotel rooms,” says Flink.
She says having a shelter promotes a more communal environment that can also help with healing.
“Therapeutically, it’s way better,” says Flink. “People can get support from each other as well as have constant access to our services.”
According to the Texas Council for Family Violence, 1 in 3 Texans will experience domestic violence in their lifetimes, and 39 percent of requests for shelter are turned down because of a lack of resources.
“It’s very emotional to be able to tell someone in need ‘Yes, we can help you’,” says Flink. “One man with us says he tried calling several places who told him they only serve women. It’s rewarding to know we’re providing this space that’s just for men and their kids.”
It’s still less often that men seek service for domestic violence, and that’s meant a bit of a learning curve at this new men-only shelter.
“We’re trying to be sensitive to this, especially since it’s something we’re less familiar with,” says Flink. “But we’re learning and trying to be professional in how we approach it.”
The Family Place provides free services to anyone seeking shelter from an abusive relationship. They also provide a 24-hour crisis hotline and a guide to the warning signs.