ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — After more than a decade of planning, on Thursday, Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara announced the first location for the city’s Family Peace Center, a one-stop shop designed to help women suffering through domestic violence.
Initially, the center will be located at 313 N. Main Street in downtown Rockford, and is expected to open within the next six months.
“Currently, the way survivors seek help and receive services is daunting, and sometimes overwhelming, on what is, conceivably, one of the worst days in their lives,” said Beth Edge, of VOICES Survivor Support Group.
Edge herself is a domestic violence survivor.
She says it can be difficult for people to get the help that they need without “having to go to multiple locations and agencies throughout the Winnebago County area.”
McNamara said the City worked with survivors throughout the planning process to ensure the center would meet their needs.
“They’ve [gone] through this. They’ve traveled to twenty different locations to get the services they need. They’ve seen really intimidating places, and they understand what they want, and what will benefit other survivors,” he said.
McNamara said the N. Main location will operate for at least two years, until a larger and more permanent spot is established.
“This is 11,000 square feet. To bring in all the partners that have already agreed to [help], we’re going to need, probably, between 50-80,000 square feet.
Edge said the Family Peace Center will offer domestic violence survivors a feeling of hope.
“We want the Family Peace Center to be a space where you are seen and heard, where you are safe and celebrated, where you can breathe,” she said.
The temporary site is expected to be up and running by July.
The City hopes to announce the location of the permanent location within the next few months.
McNamara says the City will continue to raise money to support the move.