This letter was written in response to The Capital article “Searching for Safety” by Dana Munro.
This is a classic example of what not to do when working with trauma victims. As in this article, when a survivor is identified by their first and last name, and the source sharing this information, along with additional information about their whereabouts, puts the survivor and everyone in their immediate vicinity in significant danger, including the risk of murder.
As with many safehouses, sharing these details prevents the victim from returning to the YWCA safe house. Therefore, this clause may have created a significant barrier to ensuring a victim’s safety.
While the YWCA cannot directly comment on the claims made in the article, as we cannot confirm or deny that a person is a customer, we can provide you with some facts.
As the primary provider of crisis response services for survivors of intimate partner violence in Anne Arundel County, YWCA treats all clients with great care and provides significant resources for stability. The primary focus of the organization is an emergency shelter for those fleeing an abusive home. The program is 45 days with extensions granted as needed. In recent years, most customers stay for 90+ days due to lack of housing options. Services include legal representation in peace and protection orders, emergency shelter, 24-hour hotlines, hospital attendant after an attack, licensed therapy and abuser response.
in response to your post:
- YWCA has steadily increased its staff numbers over the past five years.
- Through grant funding, the organization has raised substantial funds to subsidize apartment rentals for clients.
- The organization provides assistance by paying for childcare, transportation, professional certifications, furniture, gift cards, clothing, and more.
- Housing alternatives are determined on an ongoing basis prior to discharge.
Kristyn Kuhn Eckel
Eckel is the YWCA chair of the Annapolis Board of Directors.
Dana Munro’s article is supposed to be a call to action. Our lack of housing for working families has real consequences. Trying to escape domestic violence, these women are forced to move out of state, face homelessness or move in with their abusers. These are policy failures caused by policy choices.
When Vilma Pena was pregnant and could not find a place to take shelter, she had to sleep in the forest with her 2-year-old child. Pena couldn’t find a home near her job and was forced to move back to the abusive home. Cathryn Mouzone makes too much money as a waitress to qualify for coupons, but can’t afford housing in the area. As Karla Richardson had no place to stay, she had to move to Pennsylvania and take her children to Anne Arundel schools. How can the elected officials of Annapolis not admit that the lack of housing options is making the lives of these women more dangerous?
The O-40-22 is a step up to solving problems like this. It’s not a panacea, but for families with less than 100% field income, building more homes will help. Expanding where apartments and affordable units can be built can be a lifesaver for women fleeing violence. Every house blocked by the unfounded calls of community character puts more women like this in a life-or-death situation. I hope the Annapolis City Council makes the morally right choice and votes on the bill.
Nancy Lisbon, Annapolis
The city of Annapolis does not usually weigh in on county issues, but I would like to offer my support to Anne Arundel County Administrator Steuart Pittman and Councilor Lisa Rodvien on the expansion of Quiet Waters Park just outside the Annapolis city limits.
Rental arrangements like this can be extremely beneficial to the public because the government sets terms and conditions, keeps the asset in its portfolio, uses private financing, and allows the public asset to be used for good. Annapolis has successfully used such arrangements with the Chesapeake Area Accessible Boating and Annapolis Maritime Museum. Historic Annapolis has a similar arrangement with the state across multiple buildings in the historic district.
Getting people out and protecting nature are the core principles of the Chesapeake Conservancy’s work. It was the efforts of conservatism that saved this land from private development and expanded Quiet Waters Park. Additionally, the conservation has been a formidable companion of the city of Annapolis in various projects. For example, the transfer of the coastal property of Elktonia/Carr to the city last fall could not have happened without their efforts.
The layout under consideration on the previously developed land is ecologically focused and includes planting local vegetation and adding stormwater controls currently missing from the site. This privately funded environmental facility will provide a collaborative workspace for local nonprofits. It will attract national talent and become a hub for the kind of environmental action Maryland needs.
I know conservatism are good partners and attendants. His work in Maryland and Virginia has made a tremendous difference in water quality, fish and wildlife conservation, and preserving the lifestyles of many communities. I thank them for their work and support the county’s vision of helping them and their partners find a home in Annapolis.
Buckley is the mayor of Annapolis.
I am disturbed by the misinformation propounded by the Annapolis Neck Peninsula Federation and others about the planned use of the recently acquired addition to Quiet Waters Park, particularly in relation to the building being built on it.
Acquiring the property was a long-standing goal of the Anne Arundel County Department of Recreation and Parks, but the need to acquire the property was driven by a developer’s plans to place 14 luxury homes on it. The Chesapeake Conservancy offered a $2 million contribution to the acquisition and worked with the county to obtain the necessary additional funding from federal, state, and local government sources and private contributions.
The original plan was never to keep the property unchanged as a forest preserve as some people would like it to be, but to provide the same kind of passive recreation opportunities and access to stunning views as the main part of Quiet Waters Park. Initially, structures on the property were to be renovated to provide office and meeting space for conservation and other non-home environmental organizations. However, one of the large structures was hit by a hurricane and the other burned down.
Thanks to a donation from the Earl family, the decision was made to construct a cutting-edge building further away from the coastline, in a less sensitive area, and with a smaller footprint. It will provide not only office space for conservation personnel, but also office and meeting space for other environmental organizations, rooms that can be used for speech and environmental education purposes.
For more on what’s planned, see the latest statements by County Administrator Steuart Pittman and Councilor Lisa Rodvein and attend the meeting on this topic, organized by the Department of Recreation and Parks on February 13 from 6pm to 8pm on the Blue. Heron Room in Quiet Waters Park.
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