Plans for a domestic violence shelter in Hamilton County halted

NOBLESVILLE, Ind. - Leaders in Hamilton County have been working for years to establish a safe place for women and children to go when they are being abused, but plans for a new domestic shelter have hit another snag.

“These ladies and kids have to have a safe place to live," Hamilton County Commissioner Steve Dillinger said. "It’s high on our priority list to be able to work with these folks and get something here in Hamilton County and get it solved once and for all.”

This week, the Hamilton County Commissioners toured the current Boys and Girls Club of Noblesville as a possible location for a domestic violence shelter, but the Boys and Girls Club accepted an offer from a different buyer last week. The organization will move into a new center it's building in January.

Hamilton County is the largest county in the state not to have a domestic violence shelter. Law enforcement agencies in the county respond to more than 2,000 domestic violence calls a year.

“It is something we need to move on and address as the county continues to grow," Hamilton County Sheriff Mark Bowen said.

Currently, if an officer needs to assist women and children who are being abused with safe, temporary housing they are forced to take them to a shelter in in Anderson.

“Removing them from their home, removing them from their community and their school system is very, very difficult and just adds insult to injury," Sheriff Bowen said.

Noblesville Police Chief Kevin Jowitt is part of a small group working to bring a shelter to Hamilton County. He said he was surprised there wasn't one there in 1983 when he moved to the area.

“I think the trouble getting it going has just been the nuts and bolts of it; funding, location and who’s actually going to end up operating it," Jowitt said. "Everybody has been very supportive of the concept. Everybody I’ve talked to knows that’s it’s needed. It’s just been challenging because this is an absolute ground zero start up.”

The sale of the Boys and Girls Club of Noblesville is not a done deal. The buyer, who the club could not name, is currently going through the due diligence process. If the sale does not go through, Dillinger said the county would still be interested in putting a bid in for the building.