Angel House of Odessa Loses Federal Funding Used to Run Their Facility

by Sarah Snyder
NewsWest 9

They've been taking care of family violence victims for the past seven years.

Angel House in Odessa is the only shelter serving eight of our Permian Basin counties, but it's in danger of shutting its doors.

They've lost their federal funding, and they need your help to keep going.

The Angel House is serving more families than ever.

In fact, the director tells us they're full.

After losing most of their funding they're hoping to find a way to keep the shelter open.

"We are busting at the seams," Renee Morris, Director of Angel House, said.

For the past six years, Renee Morris has served as the Director of the only shelter for women and children in eight Permian Basin counties.

"What we've seen is a more influx of younger clients with more children," Morris said.

"It is not the poor uneducated minority woman that is a victim of domestic violence. It runs across all socio economic, all races, there is no face. Domestic or family violence is your co-worker, it's your granddaughter, it's every woman," Morris said.

Odessa police say domestic violence is higher than ever before.

"Because of places like Angel House exist, now women have someplace to turn to," Lt. Rick Pippins with the Odessa Police Deparment, said.

"Because of the increase, the boom we've gone through, and now it's busting, or you can say, declining, and so, there's going to be more challenges and frustration and anger about money," Morris said. "And those things don't cause domestic violence, but they are triggers."

Before the housing shortage, residents would stay for six weeks, but now many are staying up to three months until they can get on their feet.

"To get out of that nightmare, some women and their children need a safe refuge to go to," Chuck Hornung, Executive Director of The Crisis Center, said. "That has been provided by the crisis center and that facility is called Angel House."

224 women and children found a refuge in the Angel House this year, but now it's in danger of closing it's doors. Their federal funding was recently re-directed to another cause.

"If we lose this, we are in danger of losing the crisis center as a whole," DeWayne Horton, President of The Crisis Center Board, said.

The day she found out they lost their federal funding, accounting for one third of their operating budget, Renee realized it was time for West Texans to step up and help out.

"When I got home, I started thinking about all the women and children we've served in the last seven years," Morris said. "Since 2001, we've seen over 2,000 women and children, and I think about where will they go? What will they do? We have to stay open, because otherwise, we're talking about lives."

The Crisis Center says in order to keep serving families they need your help.

Not only do they need financial support, but they also need winter necessities for the women and children. If you're interested in getting involved contact the Angel House at 337-4081.