Chapel Hill’s Compass Center for Women and Families is expanding its services to include housing and mental health support to victims of domestic violence and their children.

Thanks to a $350,000 grant from the Governor’s Crime Commission along with a cash match of nearly $16,000 from a Cardinal Innovations grant, the Compass Center will help fill the lack of a domestic violence shelter in Orange County.

Executive Director of the Compass Center Cordelia Heaney says that nearly 99 percent of survivors of domestic abuse experience what is called “financial abuse.”

“That can be their partner refusing to let them work, or stalking them at work, or putting them on a financial allowance, or ruining their credit by taking out credit cards or other debt in their name,” says Heaney.

Thanks to this grant, the Compass Center will be able to minimize the threat of financial abuse by assisting in survivors’ transitions into regular life.

Although these funds are only allowed to be used to provide for up to 120 days of housing, Heaney believes it will help supplement the other work being done by the Compass Center.

“We know that that’s a really short amount of time for someone to go through all the processes that they need to sometimes to be self sufficient, but we’re still really excited that we’re able to offer that for some clients and we think that it goes along with our self sufficiency work around career and financial education,” says Heaney.

Last year, the Compass Center served over 1,200 victims of domestic violence. The expanded services are expected to be available in early 2019.

The Compass Center has a 24-hour domestic violence services hotline available at (919) 929-7122.