Juneau’s domestic violence shelter opens to all genders

Mandy Cole is the deputy director of AWARE.

Mandy Cole is the deputy director of AWARE. (Photo by Quinton Chandler/KTOO)

Men will be allowed to stay at Juneau’s domestic violence shelter in 2018.

AWARE  has run a 30-day emergency shelter for female victims of domestic abuse since 2012. A bill signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2013 declared that social care organizations must provide services to more than one gender.

The organization has been working on a way to safely comply with federal law.

“We are screening any survivor of domestic violence and sexual assault for a shelter stay on site,” AWARE’s Deputy Director Mandy Cole said. “Before if we had a male survivor who needed immediate shelter, we might put them in a hotel overnight. But we’re going to start screening them for immediate shelter here at our current emergency shelter facility.”

The shelter doesn’t only serve domestic violence victims. Cole said AWARE will continue to make space for women with children and no place to go.

“Because there aren’t any emergency family shelters, any woman with a child who is homeless and the child needs shelter for the night certainly, we’ll take that person,” she added. “Even if they don’t necessarily identify as a survivor (of abuse).”

AWARE encourages anyone seeking help to call its crisis line at 586-1090.

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