Sioux Falls, SD
A Sioux Falls shelter is seeing more people walking through its doors. After a near record fall, the Children's Inn will end 2011 with some of its highest numbers ever.
"Domestic violence has always been there. Child abuse has always been there," Operations Director Amy Carter said.
And for 35 years, the Children's Inn has been there. This year, more women are making a call to the center. Children's Inn numbers are trending up about four percent.
"When you have a normal capacity of 31 people that can be significant in the numbers we do see from day to day," Carter said.
Carter said the numbers have leveled off in recent weeks, but the past few months were some of the busiest ever. The shelter was running at more than double capacity.
"We just get creative," Carter said. "We whip out mattresses, pack-n-plays with the little ones. We have family rooms we've used as bedrooms before. But our goal is to not turn anyone away if there is that need."
But it's not just the shelter numbers that are up at the Children's Inn. All services are seeing an increased need this year.
"We service primarily women and children feeling those abusive situations. We have children placed with us through our group home. And those people are removed from the home," Carter said.
Crisis calls are up three percent too. On average, women and children stay for about 12 days to a month, and the stays are also getting longer.
"When someone's in an abusive relationship and the economy is poor, they might be afraid to leave as well because they don't think they have a chance of making it on their own," Carter said.
The added occupancy rates at the shelter also mean its budget is stretched. Carter said the organization has made cuts at the administrative level and is working to raise more money to off-set the costs.
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