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2nd shelter planned to house abused women

Women Against Abuse announced plans yesterday to open a new facility for domestic violence victims by the end of the year.

WOMEN Against Abuse announced plans yesterday to open a new facility for domestic-violence victims by the end of the year.

The shelter, made possible through a $2.5 million grant from the city's Office of Supportive Housing, will allow WAA to open a second 100-bed facility to serve an additional 600 women and children a year.

Currently, there is only one shelter in the city for victims of domestic violence. Last year, WAA had to turn down 8,465 requests for safe shelter. The shelter will be housed in a building that is to be renovated, but officials won't disclose its location to protect the women who will stay there.

Renee Norris-Jones, 55, a domestic-violence survivor, said during a news conference in City Hall that a second emergency shelter is "so needed." She recalled what it's like to be told that an emergency shelter is at capacity.

"I remember what it means to be tortured, to be fearful for your life. You have to find courage and opportunity to make that phone call," Norris-Jones said. "You're standing on that corner in rain, sleet or snow to hear there's no room."

City Council held a hearing on the availability of emergency shelters for victims of domestic violence last year. Advocates say Philadelphia police respond to more than 100,000 domestic-violence calls a year.

"The sheer number of women and children that need this service is horrific," said Jeannine Lisitski, WAA executive director. "Behind all of these numbers is a mother, a sister, a daughter and a friend, somebody that needed safety and to break free from the violence in their home."