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County abuse shelter moves

By By Adrienne McKenzie
Individuals in Escambia County who have been domestically abused now have a facility to go to that has room for them and is not a long distance away.
The Penelope House in Mobile formerly took people in from Escambia County who have been abused, but the Lighthouse in Robertsdale is now in charge of the area. The reason for the switch is because of overcrowding at the Mobile shelter.
"We are a service for domestic violence," said development and communications director Christine Armstrong. "We have been serving Baldwin County for 14 years. Penelope House is no longer serving Escambia County because we're closer and our shelter is not as burdened as theirs. We always have room, where sometimes they do not. The people who come here will get better service."
The switch from the Penelope House to the Lighthouse occurred at the beginning of October and Armstrong said people can get all the help they need in Robertsdale.
"I think a lot of people thought that (the Penelope House) was too far," she said. "We're far, too, but we're closer. A lot of people didn't want to go to Mobile and then when they did, they were packed full. Our shelter is big and it's new. When they come to us, we can help them with safety planning and all kinds of issues. We have individual and group counseling, childcare is available if they are attending support groups. We have a child advocate, court advocacy services and we've got a transitional housing program for those that qualify. We have a prevention educator who does programs like safe dating and rape prevention and bullying."
Penelope House and the Lighthouse administration both agreed that the switch should be made for Escambia County domestic violence victims to go to Robertsdale instead of Mobile.
"It was a mutual agreement because they are overburdened, but we on the other hand only covered Baldwin County," Armstrong said. "We have the resources to do it whereas they were burdened. The shelter is new so it's really nice. It opened in 1994."
For more information on the Lighthouse, visit www.abeacon.org.