March 28, 2017. The Daily Progress.
Hundreds of people from diverse religious backgrounds came together on Tuesday night for updates on two initiatives taken up by the Interfaith Movement Promoting Action by Congregations Together, better known as IMPACT.
With 16 congregations — some Christian, some Jewish, some Muslim — in attendance Tuesday night at the Church of the Incarnation, committee leader Janie Pudhorodsky reminded the crowd that the local regional jail locks up about 3,150 drug and alcohol addicts each year and said that nearly all female inmates have experienced sexual abuse and violence.
With that in mind, IMPACT has been working in conjunction with the Region Ten Community Services Board to build and operate a residential treatment facility for women near their existing facilities on Old Lynchburg Road. It was announced Tuesday that the Charlottesville City Council and the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors have each pledged to provide $75,000 to the project in their preliminary budgets.
Caruso Brown, of Region Ten, was also on hand Tuesday to announce that the groundbreaking for the new facility could happen as early as next month and that the center is expected to open by the end of 2017. He continued that while his job often requires him to deliver bad news, this latest turn of events could improve the lives of area women who are forced to seek treatment options far outside the city or county.
“It is a terrible state to be in need of help and find it nowhere,” Brown said.
Brown said that the new center will hopefully be able to permit young children to come in with their mothers so that the children can be a part of the recovery process and women won’t feel stigmatized from seeking help for fear of losing their children.
Sarah Kelley, another member of the committee for the treatment center, added that IMPACT will be asking two city officials and two county officials to guard the center’s funding for years to come, and also asked the crowd to attend the city and county’s respective budget meetings as well as the impending ground breaking ceremony.
“We have to do what we do best: stay in front, not sit back and send out a message,” Kelley said. “We can’t sit back on families that have lost sisters, mothers, aunts, cousins … to the struggle.”
Soon after, Pete Kashadus reminded the crowd that IMPACT also was looking at the problem of high costs of services and housing for senior citizens, noting that 6,100 seniors in the area struggle to keep a roof over their heads. He went on to state that those households pay more than 30 percent of their income toward housing costs and that 11,800 senior households in the region earn less than $35,000 annually.
“There is a housing crisis among our community’s elderly,” Kashadus said. “We want the city and county to increase the number of affordable houses for area seniors.”
Kashadus continued that by 2024, 25 percent of the area’s population will be over the age of 65 and that IMPACT would be working to make local governments prioritize affordable housing for seniors.
“How can our community market itself as a great retirement community if so many can’t afford to live here?” Kashadus said.
The next major event for IMPACT is the Nehemiah Action Assembly, scheduled for April 25 at the Martin Luther King Jr. Performing Arts Center.
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