PREBLE COUNTY — YWCA Dayton is still open for business and serving men, women, and families seeking shelter, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
One in four women in the U.S. will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. YWCA Dayton will answer more than 8,000 calls to our 24/7 crisis hotline every year. Every day, they shelter about 60 women, plus children up to age 18; they also provide supportive and transitional housing to an additional 70 women and families every day.
Courtney Griffith, Director of Rural Strategy, said, “The current health crisis is bringing with it an increase in anxiety and stress. We know that with any heightened stressful event comes a rise in domestic violence. As always, our 24/7 crisis hotline and shelter services are available for any domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking survivors who need safety and peace.”
According to Director of Marketing and Communications Audrey Starr, YWCA Dayton is classified as an essential service by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine’s “Stay at Home” order.
“The ‘Shelter in Place’ order that came from the State of Ohio did allow some exceptions for what they call essential businesses. YWCA Dayton as a social and human services organization that provides those critical, essential, life giving services, such as shelter, food, housing, is considered an essential business,” she said.
“We fall under that category since we shelter people and care for them 24/7. They live with us and for the women and families we serve, whether they are in our domestic violence shelters or our permanent and supportive housing or our transitional housing program, that is their home. When we encourage people to stay at home to combat the spread of the coronavirus, this is their home.”
YWCA Dayton is taking a number of precautions to protect staff and clients at the open facilities:
•Reiterating the need to avoid others if you are sick, wash your hands thoroughly and frequently, refrain from touching your face or anyone else’s face, and cough or sneeze into your elbow.
•Ensuring all shared spaces are sanitized at least every two hours by staff and that clients/residents have access to personal cleaning supplies
•Providing options for shelter clients to eat meals outside of regular meal schedules, and in private areas
•Asking clients/residents to communicate as much as possible by phone, instead of face-to-face contact, with each other and staff
•Providing a safe location for walk-in clients to communicate via phone with crisis services staff
•Monitoring temperatures and health symptoms of all staff and authorized vendors/visitors
•All volunteers, interns, and facility rentals are on hold.
•All general visitors are on hold. This includes requests to use our central building lobby restroom and/or vending machines.
•Only new and unopened donations, by appointment only, are being accepted. To schedule an appointment, contact Kelsi Martinez at firstname.lastname@example.org or 937-461-5550 x108.
According to Starr, domestic violence is known to increase in times of economic hardship; the number of domestic violence cases reported to local police in Hubei province, in China, has nearly tripled in February after many people were quarantined in January due to the virus. Walk-in clients are still being accepted at the central building (141 W. Third St. Dayton), and the 24/7 Crisis Hotlines remains available: 937-222-SAFE (7233) for the Greater Dayton area or 937-456-6891 for Preble County.
“We are very cognizant that we might very well seen an increase in our hotline calls, we’ve seen a slight increase over the past two weeks, but it is still too early to tell if that is correlated directly to the coronavirus or if that is just a normal springtime increase, so we are watching that closely,” she said.
“We know that when home is not a safe place for you and that is the only place you are told to be, that basically traps you in your home with your abuser. We are trying our best to get the word out that we are still open, that our 24/7 Crisis Hotline is still open and that even if you are not in a position where you are able to leave immediately and come into shelter, we can do supportive listening and do safety planning with you over our hotline and give you some of those steps in the interim to keep you as safe as possible.”
The public can give back to YWCA Dayton in the following ways:
•Send motivational messages, words of wisdom, inspirational cards, or a drawing to email@example.com of 141 W. Third Street, Dayton, ATTN: Communications.
•Shop YWCA Dayton COVID-19 wish list online or shop Amazon Smile and choose YWCA Dayton as your charity beneficiary.
•Make a financial gift online.
More information can be found on ywcadayton.org.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH