Alle-Kiski Area HOPE shelter reopens after repairs
After an unexpected closing earlier this month, the Alle-Kiski Area HOPE Center's emergency shelter is again serving abused women and children.
On April 2, seven women and their six children were evicted because of threats to staff and damage to the shelter.
HOPE Center Executive Director Michelle Bond said volatile personalities clashed and forced the unprecedented action.
Board chairwoman Mary Bowlin said Wednesday that Bond and her staff professionally handled the difficult situation.
It was the first mass eviction since the center opened its doors in Tarentum in 1989.
Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence spokeswoman Ellen Lyon said the incident also was a first for the 50 other domestic shelters in the state.
Bond said HOPE Center officials wanted to reopen the shelter the day after the incident, but considerable work needed to be done first.
The shelter was inspected and reopened nine days later, on April 10, after the shelter's maintenance crews and staff completed about $10,000 worth of cleanup and repairs, Bond said.
By Wednesday, 21 women and children were using the shelter without a problem, Bond said.
“We're back to full occupancy,” she said.
Tarentum police said there haven't been other violent incidents at the center.
Women and children may spend two to 30 days in the shelter. Some transitional lodging is available after that.
The shelter has rules to protect the residents, staff and community, Bond said.
Some people are asked to leave the shelter for drug or alcohol use, violence or threatening staff. But such evictions are infrequent, Bond said.
She said the events leading to April 2 left Bond and her staff in fear that someone would be seriously injured because of escalating tension.
Employees were told they could have filed charges if they had been assaulted, but no criminal charges were filed.
“It was their choice,” Bond said.
“When I made the decision to close down, I did it for the safety of all,” Bond said. “I knew it could be very negative public relations for us.”
But Bond indicated that the backlash was minimal.
“Community support has been very positive,” Bond said.
Bowlin said Bond has board support, too.
Chuck Biedka is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4711 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- United Way Impact Fund Grants to award $445K to 26 Butler County nonprofits
- Keystone Markers give insights about towns but have fallen victim to time, theft or traffic accidents
- ‘Wax weed’ worries authorities
- Pyrotechnics display turns from benefit to burden in Tarentum
- Vandergrift man accused of sexual assault
- New Kensington dedicates fireworks festivities to longtime coordinator
- Lower Burrell couple charged with 6 misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty
- Freeport VFW initiates its ‘monumental project’
- Union to work while ATI talks continue
- State store relocates to Highlands Mall
- Plum landslide to be fixed after year