In 2001, the Support Center was generously gifted the homestead of Catherine (Katy) Burch Symmes by Burch House, Inc., a private residential mental health facility. In keeping with Katy’s vision of the home being used as a refuge for people in crisis, The Support Center opened the Burch House Shelter in 2002 for women and children fleeing domestic and sexual violence.
The Burch House Shelter is a 10 bedroom farmhouse that can house up to 15 women and children who are seeking safety from the immediate threat of abuse. It is staffed 24 hours a day and entrance to the shelter for victims in need is available by calling our 24 hour crisis line at 1-800-774-0544. The only requirement to be eligible for shelter services is the need to escape a current living situation because of imminent danger. Shelter guests are not required to have an order of protection in place in order to come into shelter; however, there are security measures in place and safety rules that shelter guests must follow, such as curfews, cleaning and hygiene expectations, security monitoring and 24 hour locked doors. Because everyone heals from the trauma of abuse differently, there isn’t a limit to the length of time someone may stay as a guest at the shelter. Each person and situation is unique. Guests are free to terminate their stay and leave the shelter at any time.
While domestic and sexual violence is a series of traumatic events that may impact an individual’s mental and physical health, it is not a disease or mental health condition. Therefore, the Burch House Shelter is not a treatment facility. It is a safe place for victims and survivors to heal and recover from being victimized by an intimate partner.
Services available at the shelter:
- Emergency food and personal needs assistance
- Case management and assistance accessing public benefits and services
- Education and information on domestic and sexual violence
- Supportive counseling services and life skills development
- Court, medical and criminal justice advocacy
There is a large, eat-in kitchen to prepare meals, laundry facilities on-site, a designated smoking area outside, community room with DVDs, indoor and outdoor children’s play areas and gardens for quiet reflection. Burch House is also home to six chickens that supply fresh eggs for shelter guests every day. Shelter guests may decline to participate in any activities and services offered, with the exception of participation in helping to keep the shelter and their guest room clean and sanitary.
The Burch House Shelter depends largely on donations of food, material goods and cash contributions to provide for the needs of the women and children staying here. Your kind and generous donation is always welcome and appreciated.
For more information on the shelter please call 444-0624.