WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — Hope Alliance, the only domestic violence shelter in Williamson County, has seen a 35 percent increase in services over the last five years, with the number of children they’re helping up 67 percent.
“Most of the time, the victim is going to stay in the relationship until we can make room for her or him,” explains Patty Connor, CEO of Hope Alliance.
Domestic violence deaths reached a new high in Texas last year: 157 women were killed, three of them in Williamson County, after no deaths in 2014.
Katie Eager, 24, of Cedar Park, and Nury Valez-Derivera, 47, of Leander, were both shot and killed by their boyfriends. Jessica Hope Buzan, 43, of Taylor, was shot and killed by her husband.
“I’ll never forget the darkness in his eyes that day and I thought ‘today is the day he’s going to kill me,'” recalls Suzanne, one of thousands of people who’ve received help from Hope Alliance. Last year it provided shelter to more than 350 people, with more on a wait list.
Hope Alliance is now asking the community to step forward and donate so they can build a new, larger shelter. The current facility can house 35 people a night, but they want to increase the space to allow anywhere from 50 to 75 beds total.
Baseball legend Nolan Ryan supports Hope Alliance. Ryan and his wife made a public service announcement, backing a campaign to help the county raise money to build the new shelter.
“I know Hope Alliance helped save [my life],” said Suzanne. Survivors like Suzanne hope the shelter will find the funding to help even more victims.They need to raise $5 to $7 million to build the new shelter.
If you’re interested in donating to the new shelter, you can do so online.