On behalf of the Monroe County Domestic Abuse Shelter, I am pleased to announce that the Lower Keys shelter sustained no damage from Hurricane Irma. The shelter had been closed prior to the storm for renovations to bring it into American with Disabilities Act compliance.
Renovations are complete and the shelter is close to opening, after new air conditioning units are able to be installed while it’s still vacant, and we’ll be in business. The hotline was forwarded to the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence statewide hotline prior to evacuation and will be returning to our staff on Oct. 11. Since the hurricane, outreach advocates are actively working with participants, advocating at the courthouse, etc.
The Middle Keys shelter did not fare as well in Hurricane Irma. All participants were successfully evacuated or relocated prior to the storm. However, Irma was not kind to the building. It sustained major wind and flood damage and we are still working with insurance adjusters and inspectors to determine the level of the damage. We will be setting up temporary administrative space soon and at that time our administrative number will be working once again. More information will be available soon.
In the meantime, we’d like to thank the community for its continued support of the Domestic Abuse Shelter of the Florida Keys. I encourage you to remind your friends, families and colleagues who may want to support survivors of both domestic abuse and hurricane Irma that DAS gladly accepts monetary donations. At this time, due to limited storage, we are unable to accept some types of donations.
If you’d like to donate toiletries, diapers, personal hygiene items, sheets towels, blankets, etc., please call the emergency hotline at (305) 743-4440 to coordinate drop-off. Unfortunately at this time the thrift store that was handling our clothing donations suffered damage from Irma and is not open. We will keep the community posted as more information becomes available about clothing and household item donations.
Jennifer Powell, president, board of directors, Domestic Abuse Shelter