North Texas

Plano Women's Shelter Sees Need Steadily Rising

There is a growing need in Collin County.

Just ask the head of Emily's Place, a long-term transitional housing shelter for abused women in Plano.

CEO Lori Conley said the shelter is averaging 35 to 40 phone calls a week and has a wait-list of nearly 30 families – mothers and their children looking to start over.

"It breaks my heart to think there is such a great need for this," Conley said.

What could be behind the increase, Conley said, is a combination of things. There are more people living in Collin County, and she said more women are more aware of their options.

"Even compared to five or 10 years ago, women are stepping up and saying, 'Hey, I'm not going to take this. I'm not going to be a part of this,'" Conley added.

One of those women is 24-year-old Amy Garcia.

She is a mother of two young boys who broke the vicious cycle of abuse.

"It's a big step, but once you actually take it, you realize that everything you were afraid of doing – the leaving, the not being around everybody that you know – it was worth it," Garcia said.

She and one of her boys have since found a safe haven at Emily's Place. The shelter allows women and children to live there for up to two years, helping them with case management and counseling throughout the program.

In June, Emily's Place will break ground on another home that will allow them to double their capacity. They are always in need of volunteers. If you are interested or would like to help, click here to learn more.

The need is also visible at emergency shelters in the area.

Hope's Door New Beginning Center in Plano and Garland has capacity for 55 women and children. Tuesday, 51 beds were filled – more than half by children.

According to Plano Police, the vast majority of homicides in the past several years have been domestic.

In 2016, victims' advocates served a total of 3,613 victims – the largest percentage of those victims were victims of assault, mostly from domestic violence cases, police said.

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