Crisis Center Gets Record Number of Calls for Help

By: Sarah Snyder
NewsWest 9

ODESSA - They've never had this many families needing a place to stay and with each passing week the calls keep pouring in. The Crisis Center in Odessa serves women and children who are victims of domestic violence. A growing demand for help is impacting not only the Basin, but the entire state.

"We've seen horrific numbers," Crisis Center Shelter Director, Renee Morris, said.

The Crisis Center in Odessa offers a shelter for victims of domestic violence and at the beginning of each school year, their numbers jump.

"I think during the summer you can stay at a friend's house, you can flow with it, but when children go back to school, you need that address, you need that stability," Morris said.

But this year is unlike any other: the Crisis Center handled 200 calls in the past three weeks forcing them to turn many away simply, because there's just not enough room.

"When you hear that woman on the other side of the phone and she has nowhere to go," Morris said. "She is living in her car with her three kids. It's very discouraging because we can't give them an answer."

And it's the same story state-wide. One mother needed to be sent outside the Permian Basin due to a dangerous abuse situation, but calls to other cities weren't successful.

"Every one of them we called at that point was full," Morris said.

The Children's Director tells NewsWest 9, the emotional stress of dealing with domestic violence on top of starting a new school year takes it's toll.

"Going to school can bring out all the bad emotions, all the stuff they have been trying to push down," Crisis Center Children's Director, Nancy Van Hoose, said. "Some of the kids are becoming bullies, so we're trying to work that out and breaking the cycle of violence at the age of 7."

The center also works with the school district hoping to identify students at risk and offer help.

"It is a plight," Morris said. "Homelessness is an epidemic in our area for sure and we have to do something."

Because they've been at or over capacity, the Crisis Center hopes to expand Angel House in the near future. Since they opened eight years ago the shelter offers victims: housing, transportation, food, and medical support.