MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The YWCA of Greater Memphis has had one central mission over the years.
"How do we reach those who do not reach out for help?" Director Marquiepta Odom said.
One way the non-profit has tried to do it is with its domestic violence shelter, located in a city where the organization says domestic violence incidents increased 4.7% in 2019.
"We are the biggest domestic violence shelter in the state," Odom said.
Over the non-profit’s hundred-year history, their services have evolved. They provide counseling and career training for individuals who seek shelter.
It is a service that helped Lumbria Collier get back on her feet.
"I was a resident at the YWCA as a victim of domestic violence," Callier said.
After her stay, Collier eventually went on to get her master's degree in social work. She is now the site coordinator for the shelter where she once stayed.
“Now I’m seeing the effect that it has on children -- something I wasn’t seeing as a resident there,” Callier explained.
It is why the shelter no longer only accepts women fleeing abuse, but men and children as well.
They have also seen an increase during the current health pandemic. The YWCA's space for children is nearing capacity, but they do not want to close their doors.
Odom knows all too well, being a survivor of domestic violence herself, how important it is to be available for people seeking help.
"We are essential. Our shelter has not modified hours because we understand that when someone has to flee, it's important they get out and come to a safe place," she said.
The YWCA has a 24-hour crisis support and hotline. It can be reached at 901-725-4277.
The office location for the YWCA of Greater Memphis is 766 S. Highland Street, Memphis, TN.