Fleeing from a violent relationship can be a life or death choice for a woman and her children.
In Prince George’s County there’s only one safe place to run - it’s a house in an undisclosed location through Family Crisis Center Inc.
“I don’t have nowhere to go. I don’t have family, nothing,” said one of the women currently living in the house, who did not want to be identified.
Seven women now living in that house said conditions are substandard and dangerous- for them and their children who are between the ages of four months to 18 years old.
PHOTOS: Domestic abuse victims say conditions in safe house are 'unbearable'
“It’s unbearable. It makes you want to leave, and it makes you want to do something; it makes you want to go back and that’s not an option,” said another woman that lives in that house and also did not want to be identified.
As temperatures plummet, the women said they can see their breath in many of the rooms.
“It’s cold outside. There’s no heat in many of the rooms, we have babies in there, we have elderly women in there, we have sick people in there,” said one woman.
The women have taken photographs of moldy food, moldy bathroom tiles, and food that is served past its expiration date. They said they’ve made numerous complaints, but to no avail.
“What are we showing our kids," one woman questioned. Sometimes I don’t even give her the food because it’s been left out for days.”
It’s not just a matter of comfort, they’re also concerned about their safety. They said there isn’t enough security at the house to make them feel protected.
Family Crisis Center Inc. is funded by Prince George’s County, as well as the state of Maryland and private donations.
According to a statement from FCC, their investigation revealed that the building never went without heat.
The team at FCC said they are aware of the conditions of the facility and are working towards make improvements.
According to the policy, "food is inspected for spoilage on a weekly basis and it is our policy that any food that is not fit for human consumption is immediately discarded."
SEE THE FULL STATEMENT:
Family Crisis Center of Prince George’s County Official Media Response from Executive Director Sophie Ford
(Brentwood, MD)- Our Mission at the Family Crisis Center (FCC) of Prince George’s County, since 1981 has been to promote and facilitate the elimination of domestic violence by offering support services, counseling and education to the men, women and children affected by domestic violence. We serve all individuals (men as well as women) and families whose lives have been broken. Our programming encompasses community-based and residential support for survivors looking to live a life free of abuse. Our programming is offered to empower, equip, educate and ultimately transition clients back into a safe environment. FCC is Prince George’s County’s only emergency shelter for domestic violence. Our shelter has the capacity to serve up to 55 residents at any given time on an emergency basis for up to 97 days.
It is our highest priority to protect our population. Therefore, we take any and all complaints very serious. Currently, we are conducting a thorough and soon-to-be completed investigation which will be reported to our board. These allegations strike at the core of our mission; therefore, it is imperative that confidentiality be maintained through this process in order to protect our population. Our official silence for the past 48 hours has been one of prudence not, avoidance.
Because we understand that the lack of information or the dissemination of misinformation can influence inaccurate reporting, our investigation is ongoing. As we complete the investigation, our aim is to continue to build our program and provide optimum services to our population.
HEATING OF OUR FACILITY:
It was reported in the news that there was no heat in one of our facilities. Results from our initial investigation reveal that at no time did our facility go without heat. In fact, we have engaged heating and oil companies to inspect and give us an evaluation as to any issues regarding our heat. The final reporting on the heating will be in today. At the very least, our heat in the facility ranged between 62 degrees to 78 degrees over the weekend. At no time were our 46 current residents without heat; however, our investigation into residents` complaints continues.
FOOD AND SERVICES
FCC’s Food Policy is as follows: We receive donations from several community partners, in addition to providing three meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) seven days a week at FCC’s expense. Our food handlers are required to have certification in order to effectively and safely manage meal preparation, inventory and kitchen maintenance. Food is inspected for spoilage on a weekly basis and it is our policy that any food that is not fit for human consumption is immediately discarded. The news report which included pictures of food that were reported to be spoiled, were photographs of discarded food. As with this picture, and all other pictures, none of these photographs were time or date stamped, and they have not been verified to have actually come from our facility. Our investigation into residents’ complaints continues.
FACILITY AND MOLD INSPECTION
Our organization has been in existence since 1981. We maintain an emergency shelter property that was built in 1915. Our annual budget for facilities is being utilized as responsibly as possible. We have been working towards improvements of our shelter over the past month, after a recent transition in shelter management. We are aware of areas in our facility that have been restricted to resident or staff access due to needed repairs. It is our mission to provide a clean and safe environment for all of clients to be served. We are constantly seeking new funding opportunities to assist in this endeavor. Currently, our Maintenance and Repair budget is $10,000. Our investigation into the allegations is ongoing and we continue to seek immediate resolution of any issues.About Family Crisis Center of Prince George's County
Family Crisis Center of Prince George's County, Inc. (FCC) is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit, established in 1981. The mission of the organization is to promote and facilitate the elimination of domestic violence by providing counseling, education and support services to men, women and children. FCC provides wrap around services to both survivors and perpetrators.