Feb 1, 2022 - News

NW Arkansas shelter plans expansion with space for pets

photo of peace at home thrift store
The Peace at Home thrift store on Garland Avenue in Fayetteville accepts items like clothing and household items. Photo: Alex Golden/Axios

The Fayetteville City Council will decide tonight whether to approve a land sale and rezoning so that a domestic violence shelter, Peace at Home, can expand.

Why it matters: The additional land will allow Peace at Home to add a facility where victims can keep their pets and approximately double the number of families who can stay in the emergency shelter, CEO Teresa Mills tells Axios.

The intrigue: Having to leave pets behind can make it harder to leave a domestic violence situation. Abusers often hurt their victims’ pets in retaliation for leaving, Mills says. The new pet sanctuary will be able to house up to 15 household pets.

The big picture: Mills estimates it will take five years and $10 million to complete its expansion. The remodel will add room for three additional families at its Springdale shelter, which currently has room for 14 families.

  • The additional emergency shelter facility will house another 14 to 20 families, putting the total number at anywhere from 31 to 37.
  • The $10 million includes the $80,000 to purchase four acres of land from the city of Fayetteville.
  • Peace at Home is continuing to accept donations to help pay for the expansion.

By the numbers: Peace at Home received 1,294 crisis calls in 2021, compared to 1,099 in 2020 and 991 in 2019. These numbers only represent victims’ first calls to the shelter.

  • The need for more domestic violence services has increased for several reasons, including an increase in domestic violence rates and population growth in NWA. Mills added that movements such as MeToo have made it easier for victims to report abuse.

Of note: The organization also offers services such as free legal representation, counseling and financial assistance after leaving the shelter while victims are getting on their feet.

Go to the meeting: 5:30pm tonight at City Hall or online.


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