On Monday, March 25, Supervisors Dan Storck (D-Mt. Vernon) and Jeff McKay (D-Lee District), with other local leaders and community advocates, celebrated the grand opening of Artemis House Region 1. This long-awaited center in South Fairfax County will provide refuge and support to those escaping from domestic violence, without having to drive long distances from their communities, schools and support networks when already in a stressful situation.
“I became aware of the need for an area domestic violence shelter during my first days in office,” said Supervisor Storck. “I immediately reached out to the County Executive and others to challenge them to eliminate this critical need and gap in services. Domestic violence support was added at the Gerry Hyland (South County) Government Center soon thereafter. I recruited three strong women, Mattie Palmore, Lisa Sales and Karen Stone, to spearhead getting a new shelter here. They were fierce advocates, calling themselves the ‘three musketeers’ and working tirelessly with County staff to get our new area shelter opened. We are very thankful to now be able to truly support our residents during their greatest need.”
Supervisor McKay said: “Three years ago, I approached Fairfax County’s Redevelopment and Housing Authority about the possibility of incorporating a Domestic Violence Shelter into their strategic plans for the County because I knew far too many victims were in desperate need of resources in our area… Three years later, I’m proud to say this idea, in coordination with Supervisor Dan Storck, and the tremendous work of Mattie Palmore, Lisa Sales, Karen Stone, and Kari Wright Warren has come to fruition. For far too long, Fairfax County has been limited in helping those escape from horrible domestic situations. A second domestic violence shelter in South County falls right in line with Fairfax County’s One Fairfax policy and initiatives; it means that a family will no longer be faced with barriers (such as traveling) in escaping difficult situations and beginning a new life. This is a huge milestone, and I’m honored to live in a County where staff, nonprofits, elected officials, and community members alike come together to help their neighbors. We are so blessed to have this opportunity to take care of our residents, no matter the obstacles they face.”
Previously, there were only two domestic violence shelters in Fairfax County: Artemis House in northern Fairfax County and Bethany House. These undisclosed locations offer temporary shelter to domestic violence victims in a safe and secure environment while they figure out next steps and make longer-term living arrangements. It also provides a safe location to begin recovery from trauma.
Artemis House accepts men, women, people who identify as transgender and children. Residents at Artemis House have access to case management services and counseling for adults and children. Case management can help residents access child care, immigration assistance, victim advocacy, legal assistance and employment resources, as well as help develop a housing plan for after the exit from Artemis House. In addition, residents at Artemis House receive assistance with transportation and can be provided emergency food and clothing.