Twelve may seem like a small number. But for women and children seeking protection from an abusive relationship, space for 12 families in a new shelter can provide a life-saving refuge.
So, domestic violence prevention advocates say it’s significant news that a Dallas-area power couple in sports and business have donated a house to a locally based nonprofit for use as shelter by survivors of domestic abuse.
LaTroy Hawkins was a Major League pitcher for 21 years, playing for about a dozen teams, including the New York Yankees and Chicago Cubs. He and his wife, model and entrepreneur Anita Hawkins, donated the house to the nonprofit Women Called Moses. The house southern Dallas will accommodate up to 12 families and is set to open by the end of the year.
“I have supported Women Called Moses for a number of years because of the life-changing work they’re doing,” Anita Hawkins has said.
Because Women Called Moses has typically used hotels and motels as temporary housing for its clients, the Hawkinses’ gift is crucial. Finding money for temporary housing is an ongoing challenge, advocates say.
Debra Nixon-Bowles is president of Women Called Moses. She founded the nonprofit in 2004 after her own experiences as a victim of domestic abuse. The organization provides advocacy, crisis counseling, life-skills training, transitional and long-term support, and community service referrals for women, children and families.
Nixon-Bowles and Anita Hawkins frequently speak to public groups about the dire shortage of housing for abuse survivors, even citing a period when all Dallas-area shelters were full at once.
Hawkins, also a motivational speaker and philanthropist, said that after she and her husband decided to attack the shelter shortage, they raised $20,000 to buy the house through Find One Reason to Smile, a nonprofit she founded and uses in part to support Women Called Moses.
Hawkins has said that as a child, she, too, suffered abuse from male relatives. The experience fueled her determination to survive and what associates describe as strong self-motivation. Women Called Moses officials say community groups, including Antioch Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church, have agreed to help prepare the house for its opening. The home will include a room where residents can meditate, reflect and journal as they plan their future, officials said.
“This house is … [so] important as it will help us … save lives … [for] many, many families from all across the country,” Nixon-Bowles said in promotional materials. “We are so grateful to [the Hawkinses]. … The shortage of safe housing causes many women to have to return to their abusers.”
October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. To raise money to combat domestic abuse, the fifth annual Heels 2 Heal, a black-tie gala benefiting Women Called Moses, will be held at 7 p.m. Sunday at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden, 8525 Garland Road.
Grammy-nominated urban recording artist and former TV One reality show cast member Michel’le will perform. A native of Compton Calif., Michel’le recently narrated Surviving Compton: Dre, Suge & Michel’le, a made-for-TV Lifetime movie about her life, including her own experiences with domestic violence in her tumultuous music relationships.