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Genesis Women's Shelter Announces Plan For New $15 Million Facility

A rendering of the exterior of Genesis Women's Shelter & Support's new, non-residential facility shows a sleek, white and brown building.
Genesis Women's Shelter & Support
A rendering of the new, non-residential facility.

Genesis Women’s Shelter & Support will build a new $15 million facility to expand non-residential services for survivors of domestic violence.

“We’re able, through this larger space, not only to treat more people but to treat them in a better way, with more advanced services,” said Jan Langbein, the organization’s CEO.

Genesis started out as a safe place for women and children to stay after leaving abusive situations, and continues to operate a “safe campus” that includes an emergency shelter and transitional housing.

But, Langbein said, only a small portion of people experiencing domestic violence end up seeking shelter, so the organization eventually added a non-residential office, for “women who either haven’t left the abuse or have left and have other residential resources but they still need the same counseling and information and advocacy and access to civil legal representation.”

The new, 28,600 square foot facility will allow Genesis to increase the number of non-residential clients it serves from 3,700 to 7,500. Located in Dallas’ Medical District, it will include a legal justice center and law library, a children’s trauma counseling center and a tech command center, which will enable people to communicate through chat, text and tele-health in addition to the existing hotline.

“We’re going to be able to reach out to them in a way that they can reach back out to us,” Langbein said, adding that the coronavirus pandemic has driven home the need for multiple modes of communication.

“We know that [some] women can’t call out now because the abuser may be in the other room” as the family quarantines together, she said.

In fact, Langbein expects a surge in people seeking help once COVID-19 becomes less of a threat.

“We have a feeling, a very strong feeling that when the all-clear bell sounds there will just be a tsunami of people needing help,” she said.

The new facility will enable Genesis to bolster supportive services for children, including an innovative child visitation camp, where kids can prepare for and process court-ordered visits with their other parent.

“We want to give them the tools to stay safe both emotionally and physically,” Langbein said. “We want to give them the tools that they’re not responsible for protecting Mom, they’re not responsible for the abuse...We feel this is going to be a very important program to help children survive what they're living.”

So far, Genesis has raised about 80% of its fundraising goal, with donations from the David B. Miller Family Foundation, The Rees-Jones Foundation, Nancy Best and a challenge grant from the J.E. & L.E. Mabee Foundation.

The organization plans to break ground on the new facility next year and open its doors in spring of 2022.

Mallory Falk covers El Paso and the border for KERA as part of The Texas Newsroom, a regional news hub linking stations across the state. She is part of the national Report for America program, which places journalists in local newsrooms to report on under-covered issues.