When will Madeline’s House reopen? STEPS answers questions

Published 12:30 pm Friday, April 26, 2024

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It’s something STEPS employees get asked on a fairly constant basis. When will Madeline’s House reopen? Right now, there’s no definite answer. 

The nonprofit STEPS is continuing work to reopen Madeline’s House and fill the substantial need for a domestic violence shelter and programs in Central Virginia. There’s just one problem. The organization is still waiting for an answer on when certain funds will come. 

“The most current need for Madeline’s House is funding,” said Linda Ellis-Williams, STEPS Domestic Violence Sexual Assault Program Coordinator. “We have been approved for Congressional funds, however, we don’t know when we will have access to those dollars. These funds will go towards operational costs. We will be able to hire staff, and once they are trained, we will be able to open our doors.” 

In 2023, STEPS successfully repaired and restored a home donated by Ellery and Robin Sedgwick to serve as the new shelter. The nonprofit ran a capital campaign with the goal of $150,000. It was met with support from local businesses, clubs, churches and individual contributors that allowed for the project’s completion.

“The community has been very generous to us,” Ellis-Williams said. 

STEPS waits on federal dollars 

In March, the United States Senate voted to send the 2024 fiscal year government spending draft appropriations bills to President Biden’s desk to be signed into law. The federal budget will include more than $111 million for community projects throughout Virginia. A reported request of approximately $950,000 for one year of program and shelter services at Madeline’s House was made to the Senate Appropriations Committee by Virginia Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner (D-VA). 

The original Madeline’s House closed its doors in November 2022. This domestic violence shelter served victims from Amelia, Buckingham, Cumberland, Lunenburg, Nottoway and Prince Edward County. Madeline House’s closing left the region without a shelter, forcing victims to seek aid outside their community during times of crisis. 

STEPS aims to provide a comprehensive set of programs and services for domestic violence/sexual violence victims and their families. The nonprofit offers survivors access to a 24-hour accessible hotline, safe shelter, court advocacy, emergency room accompaniment, life planning, support groups, and conflict resolution resources. STEPS works with community and government partners as well as first responders to provide these services. 

“By providing emergency services, and a safe place for victims when home is no longer safe, we will be saving lives,” Ellis-Williams said. “By wrapping support services around victims and helping them to resolve the conflict caused by trauma, we will be changing lives.” 

Detailing ongoing needs

In addition to financial assistance, Madeline’s House will need ongoing sponsorship and professional services from those able to help. Supporters can also donate by visiting steps-inc.org/donate, texting STEPS to 26989, reaching out through Steps. harnessapp.com or by sending contributions to STEPS, Inc. 225 Industrial Park Road, Farmville, VA 23901.

STEPS cannot do this work alone, we need your treasures, time and talents,” Ellis-Williams said. “Tuesday, April 16 we (began) training a team of volunteers who will aid us in supporting the people who need us the most. If you feel you have a little time to volunteer, we would love to have you.” 

Editor’s note: Nate Pentecost wrote this for the K-V Dispatch.