Emergency temporary closure for troubled battered women's shelter in Md.

Prince George's County's only safe house for domestic violence victims is being temporarily shut down for at least a week of cleaning and emergency repair.

PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY, MD (WUSA9) - Prince George’s County’s only shelter for women and kids threatened by domestic violence is being temporarily shut down for emergency sanitation and repairs after the Executive Director of the facility abruptly resigned Friday.

At least 48 women and children were being moved into hotels Friday night with the assistance of the Prince George’s County Family Services Department, according to Andrea Morris the new interim director of the Family Crisis Center of Prince George’s County.

Morris estimated the Family Crisis Center’s safe house will reopen January 2.

The resignation of former Executive Director Sophie Ford was announced to employees in an email Friday, according to residents who had seen the communication.

In a Facebook post on Tuesday, Ford suggested that photos sent by victims in the shelter Saturday to WUSA9 showing moldy conditions, inoperable heat, and inedible food were not verified as coming from the building.

Prince George’s County Department of Permitting, Inspections and Enforcement inspectors descended on the facility Tuesday and found a number of serious health and safety issues that needed immediate attention, according to Scott Peterson, a spokesman for county government.

RELATED: Investigation launched into complaints at Prince George’s domestic violence safe house

The issues were not “life threatening” and the permit to continue operating was not suspended, according to Ms. Morris, the new Interim Director.   However Morris said the best way to make the house safe and comfortable for domestic violence victim and children seeking shelter is to shut down the safe house for a thorough cleaning and repair.

“We really regret what has occurred,” Morris said. 

RELATED: Domestic abuse victims say conditions in safe house are 'unbearable'

Women and children housed in hotels over the holiday week will receive Christmas gifts and food that will be distributed by staff and volunteers, according to Morris.

The Family Crisis Center is an independent non-profit that receives at least $360,000 in grant support from Prince George’s County government.

© 2018 WUSA-TV


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