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Domestic violence shelter in Grafton to reopen

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news Jamestown, 58401
Jamestown North Dakota 121 3rd St NW 58401

An overnight shelter for battered women in Grafton, N.D., will reopen next week after closing for more than half a year, officials there said.

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Lack of funding initially forced Domestic Violence and Abuse Center Inc. to close the shelter in July, but it was an inability to hire workers that kept it closed for so long, according to Executive Director Jolene Halldorson.

The nonprofit group was able to keep its other services available, such as helping victims of domestic violence get restraining orders. But women that had been staying there were sent to other shelters nearby and in other states or put up in hotel rooms, said Halldorson and shelter supervisor Teresa Gravelin.

Men needing help do not stay at the shelter; other arrangements are made. Besides domestic abuse victims, the shelter also took in the homeless.

DVAC gets some funding from Walsh, Cavalier and Pembina counties, where it has offices, but it relies mostly on grants and donations. The only shelter is in Grafton.

It was the loss of a $57,000 grant that forced DVAC to close the shelter. The group had to lay off a full-time house parent, who oversees the operation of the shelter. Four part-time house parents supplemented the full-time person.

DVAC restructured and decided to have five part-time house parents, all on-call, meaning they don't come in or get paid unless there are women in need, according to Halldorson. The shelter, which can house 18 to 20, is typically used only about half the year.

Finding that fifth person was a challenge because few people are willing to take a part-time job that requires them to be on call, Halldorson said.

Originally, DVAC officials thought the shelter would be closed for just two months, reopening September 1.

Tu-Uyen Tran Is a reporter at the Grand Forks Herald, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.

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