It is hard to believe that for many years, even in a community as caring as the Coachella Valley, violence against women and children was the dirty little secret that no one wanted to talk about.
Finally, in 1988, recognizing how desperate the need, a group of women and men came together determined to find a way to help. In 1993 they opened what is still the Coachella Valley’s only emergency shelter for victims of domestic violence. From that day to this our Shelter has never closed its doors and has surely saved many lives.
Yet, as important as shelters are, they are not the answer for everyone.
Recognizing this and acutely aware of many unmet needs, we made a commitment to create a continuum of services that would offer domestic violence victims the best possible chance to create safe and healthy lives.
Today we have over 200 beds and five distinct program locations throughout the desert. Agency-wide we serve over 2000 women and children each year. All of our services are offered in Spanish as well as in English.
Our Emergency Shelter provides 60 days of refuge and a wide range of services including individual and group counseling, medical care, case management, and assistance with orders of protection for women and children who are often fleeing for their lives. To keep the children safe, on-site schooling is provided at the Shelter in either our pre-school or our K-12 school that opened in 2002.
In 2000, we opened the valley’s only long-term transitional housing program for women and children. At our Transitional Living Center, families may stay for up to two years. While there, they join the workforce and receive clinical and case management services specifically designed to help them achieve emotional and financial stability.
Also in 2000, we opened the doors to our Community Counseling Center. The Center offers adult and child victims of abuse who are not in need of shelter services similar to those offered in our Shelter.
Our Outreach Crisis Intervention offices are located in Palm Springs, Desert Hot Spring, and Palm Desert, and act as a gateway to all of our services. Each office is staffed with Spanish-and English-speaking advocates.
Shelter From The Storm has come a long way since 1988. But we know that there is more to be done. Just keeping up with the demands for services in today’s economy remains a daily challenge as our work to end the plague of domestic violence will not be finished so long as one family lives in fear.
All of us at Shelter From The Storm are grateful for the ongoing support that allows us to continue to provide our life changing services. We want you to know that because you care we are able to continue to save and rebuild lives…one family at a time.
In closing, it has been my privilege to help establish and donate my time to provide ongoing care for the women and children who seek refuge at the shelter for the last 6 years. Now it is my additional honor to serve as the president of shelter’s board with the help of Lynn Moriarty, Executive Director, the Shelter’s staff, and the other members of the board guide the Shelter into the future.
V. Douglas Jodoin, M.D.