Women & Children First Announces Grants of More Than $12 Million Awarded to Build a Domestic Violence Shelter and the New Forest of Hope Family Peace Center

(Little Rock, Arkansas, January 3, 2024) – Women & Children First (WCF), a shelter for all victims of domestic violence, has been awarded a HUD/HOME-ARP Grant of $7 Million, distributed by the Arkansas Development Finance Authority (ADFA) according to the WCF board chairman, Daniel Robinson.  Robinson stated, “This major grant, in addition to other grants from HUD/ADFA, now total $8,088,000 and represent tremendous progress toward reaching our ultimate goal for the construction of a new shelter and the New Forest of Hope Family Peace Center here in Little Rock.”

ADFA President, Mark Conine, added, “The $7 Million HUD grant awarded to WCF, in addition to other grants they will receive, greatly impact that organization’s mission to help women and children overcome the trauma and fear of living with domestic violence.  We’re very pleased to play a role in supporting their important mission.”

In addition to the HUD/ADFA grants, Windgate Foundation of Little Rock offered WCF a challenge grant of $4 Million toward construction.  “Our Foundation recognizes the urgent needs that women face when living with domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, or human trafficking. We’re gratified that we can help WCF make a difference in these women’s lives,” said Patricia Forgy, Windgate Executive Director.

According to Angela McGraw, WCF Executive Director, “The need for an expanded shelter here in Central Arkansas is great. Our current shelter has 54 beds and our planned new shelter will include 132 beds, along with an adjacent facility, the New Forest of Hope Family Peace Center.” McGraw went on to explain, “The New Forest of Hope Family Peace Center is unique because it brings together more than a dozen separate agencies to provide various resources that victims need during the process of leaving a situation where domestic violence threatens themselves and their children. Because the Family Peace Center will be located next to the new shelter, no transportation will be required for victims to access these agencies’ resources, not only for domestic violence but also sexual assault, stalking, and human trafficking — issues we’ve always dealt with.”

Because pets can be so important to these women and their children, the new shelter will include a kennel for pets, in addition to an expansive playground for their children.

Planning for these new facilities began in 2015 when WCF Board Member Cathy Browne, chairperson of WCF’s Campaign of Courage Capital Campaign, started a discussion about the shelter’s future.  Looking back, Cathy commented, “In 2015, we fully anticipated the need to expand the Shelter for the long term, so our planning for these new facilities has been a Board priority since then.  Also, since that time, the City of Little Rock leased to WCF 3.79 acres upon which to build these new facilities.  This property, located on Dailey Drive in Southwest Little Rock, is near an Arkansas Children’s Hospital clinic, a Health Department clinic, and a LRPD substation.  Both the time, and the location, are ideal for fulfilling our planned expansion.”

The new shelter will contain 41,345 square feet and each of the 132 bedrooms will feature a private bathroom, a microwave oven, and a refrigerator.

For more information about this project, contact Megan McBroome at [email protected].


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