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To raise funds and bring awareness to domestic abuse and sexual assault, the Emmaus House shelter for women and children partnered with Community Solutions, which provides mental health, substance abuse, domestic violence and sexual assault resources, to host the annual Walk a Mile in Their Shoes fundraiser on Oct. 14.
At the event, Matilda, a domestic violence survivor, spoke to the crowd gathered at the Veterans Memorial Building in Hollister. In her remarks in Spanish, she urged people suffering from domestic violence to seek help from county agencies and family. She also thanked all those that helped her.
After her speech, community members wore high heels or flats and walked a loop on San Benito Street from the Veterans Memorial Building to Fourth Street to raise community awareness of domestic violence and sexual assault.
This year, Emmaus House sheltered 69 women and children, according to Executive Director Patrice Kuerschner. In 2022, the organization sheltered 62 women and children. “At this rate, we will finish 2023 at almost 30% increase from last year,” she said.
The nonprofit Emmaus House offers shelter for women and children who are victims of domestic violence. The organization has been serving the community since 2006 as the only domestic violence shelter in San Benito County.
Even the number of crisis line callers will increase this year, she said.
In 2022, Emmaus House assisted 326 crisis line phone calls, Kuerschner said, and as of Oct. 12, 272 people were served through the crisis line. She noted that the shelter is currently at capacity.
The shelter offers 10 living units with 28 bedrooms, a mix of twin and double beds, four cribs, and several bassinets, Kuerschner said.
Though there are no available beds, Kuerschner said that Emmaus House works with neighboring agencies to find shelter for those who need it.
In 2022, Community Solutions served 146 survivors of domestic violence and 80 survivors of sexual assault, according to Erica Elliott, Community Solutions programs director.
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