TURLOCK -- Women and children in crisis now have a safe space to find help thanks to the city's Haven Women's Center of Stanislaus branch.
The site, which offers services to women and children who have been victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse, celebrated with an open house Thursday to show off its new office and amenities.
The center, at 301 Starr Ave., opened in December and offers most of the same services as the Modesto site, including counseling, case management, support groups, legal help and youth services. The only service it does not provide is a shelter.
The city of Turlock gave Haven a five-year lease on the 3,000-square-foot space, which formerly housed the city's Recreation Division, for the annual rent of $1.
"We feel really blessed to have this space," said Haven Associate Director Rachelle Currie. "It's a perfect location for the surrounding area. We've been embraced by the Police Department and other community services. We feel like a part of Turlock already."
The center has seen about 50 clients a week since opening. It has rooms for women's and children's groups and programs. In the support group rooms, inspirational words such as "Hope," "Transform" and "Heal" are painted on the walls.
The Modesto staff splits its time between the two locations. The center is open 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays.
Haven board member Tiffani Burns said the center ideally would like to hire full-time dedicated staff for the Turlock site. "We as a board want to brainstorm ideas and ways to fund this effort," she said.
Haven operates on a $1.5 million annual budget that comes from a mix of state and federal funding, grants and donations.
Turlock City Manager Roy Wasden stopped by the open house last week to see the facility for himself.
"We're beyond happy that it is here," he said. "This is a true win-win. These were needed services in the south county, and it is a big benefit for the community."
Haven helps about 2,600 women and children each year with direct services.
For more on Haven Women's Center of Stanislaus, call (209) 524-4331 or visit http://hwcstan.squarespace.com. Haven's 24-hour toll-free crisis line is (888) 454-2836.
Bee staff writer Marijke Rowland can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209) 578-2284. Follow her on www.twitter.com/turlocknow.