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New women's shelter coming to Elkhart County

A new women’s shelter is coming to downtown Elkhart that organizers want you to know everything about, except where it will be. The top secret location will serve abused women looking to get help.

“There are literally women in our own community who are in situations where they feel trapped with no place to go,” said Michelle Barnett, Director of Crossroads New Start Home.

Come Fall 2018, those women will have a new place of refuge in the city.

“They’re actually too afraid to stay in the situation that they’re in, but they’re too afraid to leave because they feel they don’t have a place to go.. and we want to change that,” said Barnett.

Crossroads New Start Home will serve anywhere between six and ten women at a time. It’s something new Director Michelle Barnett is passionate about.

“I am a victim of childhood and adult abuse so I’ve gone through it. Until I found someone that cared enough about me to get  me out of the situation to tell me they cared enough about me that I don’t deserve this.. I would have never left,” said Barnett.

According to numbers given by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the need for this shelter is there.

“One out of three women. I mean if you think about it, there’s 11,000 women in Elkhart County alone. Then these 33,000 of our sisters, mothers, our friends are being abused, either physically, sexually, or emotionally. Crossroads New Start Home is a place where women can just start over again; where they can get out of the broken situation they’re in right now and find a safe place to go,” said Barnett.

The women’s shelter will include a six to nine month program with one-on-one financial advice and life skill classes to help women get back on their feet and stay there.

“So that they have the confidence to be able to get an apartment or whatever they need to do to get out of that situation,” said Barnett.

And it doesn’t stop there.

“Once the women leave they’ll always be part of our family, it’s not like we’re going to send them off and just expect them to survive, we will be checking up with them and offering complete mentorship. Crossroads New Start Home is going to be more than just a temporary shelter. It’s going to be a place for people to start their lives over again,” said Barnett.

First steps include filling out an application, and taking a drug and criminal background test. Since those normally take an average of about two days, organizers say they will help to find a temporary safe place for the person seeking help while that paperwork is processed.

Due to facility space, the shelter won’t be accepting children at this time, but is making plans to do so at a later time and can help find a safe place for the child if needed.

Money donations and other needs such as toiletries are being accepted.

For more information, click here.

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