Crisis Center gets grant to help with COVID-19 costs

Staff Writer
Herald Democrat
This 2017 file photo shows the bench outside the Ella Mae Brown Crisis Center in Sherman. The Center serves thousands of local residents annually.

The Ella Mae Brown Women's Crisis Center of Grayson County recently received a grant to help it meet costs associated with COVID-19.

The The Texas Council on Family Violence’s Swalm Grant in the amount of $9,000 will help the Crisis Center enhance safety measures needed for its clients.

"We are also able to use funds to enhance technology and work to reach more clients through alternative measures with the challenges COVID has placed on victims receiving face-to-face advocacy,' said Director Shelli Shields.

"We will upgrade the privacy of our website and extend victim services to work through tele-advocacy and other resources through updated technology options," she added

The Center continues to operate and meet the needs of individuals and the community by offering hot line and advocacy 24-hours a day and seven days a week to victims of family violence and sexual assault.

"Advocates are available by phone for immediate assistance with safety planning and crisis intervention. The Crisis Center team is committed to being accessible to victims and ensuring privacy and confidential services. Please contact our center for general assistance/information at 903-893-3909 or our hot line 903-893-5615," Sheilds said.

She added that the staff working on site is limited and shelter capacity has been adjusted to meet the preventative and precautionary measures outlined by the Center For Disease Control for the current COVID-19 Pandemic.

"Our education/outreach department is working to implement classes through telecommunication options. Individuals needing to enroll in BIPP or AM classes please contact the center for more information," she said.

A statement announcing the award said Swalm grantees are selected annually in a competitive application process by at-large TCFV board members who are ineligible to apply themselves. This year, the group gave top priority to applicants that specified a need related to COVID-19 or a service area highlighted in the Texas State Plan, a report TCFV published in 2019 to identify the biggest gaps in domestic violence services.

“I’ve never seen a greater time of need for domestic violence victims and agencies than the one COVID-19 has induced,” said CEO of TCFV Gloria Aguilera Terry in the statement. “Texas has experienced an increase in domestic violence hot-line calls during the pandemic, and we know that economic distress hinders victims from leaving life-threatening relationships. This year, agencies’ needs were so great that TCFV awarded more Swalm Grants than usual, and each amount was given with the hope and expectation that it would save Texas lives.”

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