Two women plan to establish a not-for-profit organization to start a domestic-violence shelter in Dexter.
Jennifer Land and Sharon Darby are the driving force behind The Next Step, a shelter that will allow up to 20 families in a domestic violence situation to live in their own apartments. At a Stoddard County Commission meeting earlier this week, the women outlined a 12-month program for integrating these families back into productive environments. Land says there are no such facilities in Stoddard County with the nearest in Malden and Poplar Bluff. She says there were 41,494 domestic violence incidents in 2012 in Missouri. The Missouri Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence reports 18,907 adults and youths were turned away in 2012 because of a lack of enough shelter space. She said the number grew to 23,648 in 2014, a 20 percent increase. Land says she and Darby are working with an attorney to finalize The Next Step as a not-for-profit corporation. Land told the commission they have found a building, the old Villa Apartments that would allow housing for up to 20 families.