Sunday, July 09, 2000

Center will help domestic violence victims

By Mara H. Gottfried
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        For the 23-year-old woman with two young children, living in the Tom Geiger Guest House has offered opportunities she never had before.

        She's a victim of domestic violence who has found solace in the transitional housing of the Geiger House.

        The Gertrude House, also a transitional living facility, will be dedicated today in Walnut Hills. Its official opening in August will more than double the capacity of the Geiger House.

        “It's such a good thing that they're expanding so more women will be able to take part in the program,” said the woman, who because of her circumstances requested anonymity.

        The 12-unit apartment, situated on land donated by the Archdiocese of Cincinnati for the homeless, is set aside for women and their children. Most of the women are victims of domestic abuse, said Sally Fellerhoff, development director for the Tom Geiger Guest House Inc.

        The original 12 units at the Geiger House were created from the former As sumption Elementary in 1990. Families are eligible for transitional housing for 18 months.

        “Transitional housing is a very real need in our community,” Ms. Fellerhoff said. “Once women leave emergency shelters and before they can go onto independent living in permanent housing, this helps them get back on their feet.”

        Women in transitional housing also get support services — such as counseling, money management and parenting skills — from Bethany House Services and the YWCA of Cincinnati, Ms. Fellerhoff said.

        “Part of the whole idea is for them to know they're independent and they can function on their own,” Ms. Fellerhoff said. “One of the beautiful things is what they learn from each other. They see a woman who gets a job, and is moving out on their own and that encourages them.”

        Today's dedication will begin at the Assumption Church in Walnut Hills at 3 p.m. and move to the Gertrude House for tours.

        The Gertrude House was named in memory of Gertrude Bokenkotter. Mrs. Bokenkotter was the mother of the Rev. Thomas Bokenkotter, who is the founder and president of the board of Tom Geiger Home.


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