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Sokolowski’s Dawn Center, House of Horrors? Women Speak Out…

HERNANDO – According to the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence (FCADV) there are 42 state certified non-profit domestic violence shelters that provide temporary housing for abused women and their children.

Hernando County’s shelter, Dawn Center, has a 40 bed capacity and provides state approved counseling and some transportation needs to their occupants.

Under state law, the facility’s exact location is exempt from public disclosure to protect women from their alleged abusers.

In 2010, while under the direction of former Executive Director Grace Maineri, RNRF was granted an interview and tour of the highly secure compound. During our interview, Maineri stood her ground when faced with a battery of tough questions but she did not once decline to answer.  Unfortunately, Maineri was terminated in 2011 due to growing financial troubles and a dwindling revenue stream.

The facility’s new Executive Director, Shannon Sokolowski, has certainly made an impact when it comes to increasing donor contributions, but some say the facility is a cesspool of substance abuse, violence, and other criminal activity. This year alone, RNRF received dozens of complaints from former residents, employees, and even medical staff from Oak Hill Hospital. Although most of those who voiced complaints asked to remain anonymous, Sue Matarazzo Adler, a former Emergency Room ARNP at Oak Hill Hospital had no problem going on the record with RNRF, regarding the conditions inside the Dawn Center.

Adler tells RNRF, “You should investigate the Dawn Center and ask why the ER at Oak Hill keeps getting their residents in with ODs (overdoses) and alcohol intoxication… Don’t they have any rules in that place?”

RNRF – I had no idea it was that bad. I thought those were very rare incidents.

Adler – Rare?  That’s funny. We all had a conversation last night about how often they are in here and how our taxpayer money is supporting it.   We have one lady who comes in sometimes 3 times a day cuz she has a seizure when she drinks and doesn’t take her medications. She comes in by ambulance and signs out against medical advice before she even gets onto one of our stretchers.

Adler went on to say, “I’m getting out of the ER because I’m sick of s**t like this day in and day out and No one seems to do anything about it… Dawn Center supporters have their heads in the sand.”

“Nina” a former resident writes “Hey Tom… I Just read your article on the dawn center (Referring to a 2014 RNRF article on equality among victims) they’re dirty… Keep digging. I lived there in 2008.”

Former resident Debrah Helm says she witnessed abuse and thefts during her stay and received very little help from the facility.

Helm says “My roommate would drink all night and end up puking all over the room… Sometimes the vomit would spill on me from the top bunk.” Staff members would joke about it, says Helm, so she started sleeping in her car.

Helm tells RNRF that one woman was trespassed from the facility after she was caught stealing and being abusive but they let her come back. “Girls who stayed wasted had no problem but allowing women to abuse women who had been abused back into the facility made no sense,” says Helm.

Helm concluded with an even more perplexing situation within the Dawn Center. According to Helm, a woman who identified herself as a man was allowed to stay in the facility with her girlfriend and her children. They later broke up and moved out separately.

More recently, RNRF received a desperate message from a 20-year-old pregnant woman currently residing at the Dawn Center, who said they are forcing her to pay $5.00 for every meal. It was her understanding that meals would be provided free of charge while searching for a more permanent situation. “Amanda” as we’ll call her, says she fled North Carolina after she was stabbed and shot at by her abusive boyfriend. She came to Spring Hill alone, penniless and hoping the Dawn Center would give her a fresh start but now Amanda says she feels like she left one abusive relationship and replaced it with another.

Amanda says she contacted RNRF because the Dawn Center has a poster with my image (Tom Lemons) and a statement that says “Do not talk to this reporter…” hanging on the wall.

Past efforts to speak with Sokolowski failed and we were asked to no longer contact the Dawn Center, so we reached out to the FCADV with our inquiry.

We spoke to Leisa Wiseman, APR Director and Communications & Government Affairs, who provided the following statement, “While I have forwarded your request to our COO who handles all public records requests, I thought it might be helpful to explain a little about FCADV’s role with Florida’s certified domestic violence centers. As the professional association for the state’s 42 certified centers we provide leadership, advocacy, education, training, technical assistance, and support to certified domestic violence centers, their community partners, and other statewide professionals to improve services, practices, and policies related to domestic violence. Each center is governed by its Board of Directors, and FCADV monitors centers for compliance with applicable statutes, administrative rules and standards.”

We asked the Sheriff’s Office provided a list of calls to service at the Dawn Center, over the course of one year, and the results were astounding. Between March 2014 and March 2015 there were 187 responses by the Sheriff’s Office. Many of those were security checks but there were several thefts, assaults, verbal disturbances, and narcotics cases, resulting in at least 4 arrests on the compound grounds.

RNRF reported on one case last year, where drinking and brawling sent one woman to Oak Hill Hospital for treatment. CLICK HERE FOR FULL REPORT

Problems like the ones presented above are not unheard of from other facilities around the country. A California woman complained about a Contra County Shelter in 2013, alleging the facility was unsanitary and that the food was outdated and stale. In an interview by ABC 7 News in San Francisco, Rachel, the victim says “I’ve seen verbal attacks from the staff and even seen them kick a woman out on the street with nowhere to go.” CLICK HERE FOR FULL REPORT

All the women we spoke to wonder how a taxpayer funded facility that brings in an average of $600,000 per year can treat women the way they do.

Only time will tell if Shannon Sokolowski will grant an interview and explain why so many women fear the very place they are suppose feel safe.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. ™2013 – 2015 Real News Real Fast, Inc.

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  • Wow.. The posts on here are completely disgusting. I suppose everyone has the right to voice their own experience, but most of what I’m reading seem outrageous. I was just staying there like for 4 months, just recently, and NONE of what is written on any of these posts was the reality. It was Home, a great catapulting safe place to start from scratch. Are there people who take advantage of their assistance? I’m sure there are. But my focus was on myself and my children. I was too busy working on my own life to notice if anyone was getting high, I didn’t ever see anything like that at all there. I’m sure they’ve dealt with their fare share of people who make up scenarios to gain entry just to have a place to lay their head at night.. but if they happened to be telling the truth like most women are when they need to get somewhere safe immediately to escape abuse, it would be wrong to deny them based on a persons opinion as to if they are lying. There are so many variables when it comes to safety. The staff at the Dawn Center makes EVERY safety concern a TOP PRIORITY. Which, if there were people like that there, they were most likely removed before anyone knew what was going on. The stay there for my children and I was very pleasant. I was able to meet most of my goals, found a home and employment and got my children into a daycare. The staff were constantly encouraging, helpful with resource materials and referrals. There were “come as you are” groups held to discuss safety, how Abusive relationships work, to better understand how to stay safe and not end up with another abuser in the future. There were no infestations of any kind, actually, I did see on a regular basis many “maintenance” service people (without giving away too much sensitive information) who were there to fix anything broken within 24 hours of it breaking, in some instances right away, which I’d say is very well maintained. They even received a donation while I was there and purchased and INSANE amount of household items to update somethings that had slight normal wear and tear… hardly torn or anything, but really was nice. Ya get too many women living together and there are bound to be a disagreement, but the staff and even the Moms handled it with respect and moved forward, never ANY SORT of violence. They lock up our food in a pantry… oooohhh, big deal. It’s completely bug free, and gives no other residents a chance to take by accident or whatever, the food that we purchase from the store. I thought it was very thoughtful. I NEVER Once was denied entry to get our food, All i did was ask to open it and they did so without hesitation. Who would want to leave a 2 liter of soda in a fridge with God knows how many other people living there with free access to it, and feel like someone may have opened it to take a sip while they were gone…. Not me. So I preferred the idea of their system. The Lockers people are describing are ALSO there for everyones safe keeping of important documents, whatever you feel might be best locked away, I used to go into my locker atleast 10 times a day. The staff and even some other Mothers living there were Upbeat, stayed positive, shared advice, encouraged and uplifted one another. There is even a Spiritual counselor who is very sweet, and basically, there really isn’t ONE SINGLE thing I can say that was bad, or even a little off, or even fishy, or slightly askew.

    It is NEVER alright for a woman to be abused. If you are reading this and you’ve let these comments defer your better judgement of leaving ASAP, Please don’t buy into the prior posts. I’m serious, You will see for yourself. It’s a wonderful and beautiful place to be safe, find peace, reconnect, put your pieces back together and move forward. Call The Dawn Ceneter when you are in a safe place and they WILL HELP YOU.

    God Bless. <3

    Monday, 22 August 2016, 11:40 pm
      • So are you saying that a woman is less worthy of a safe place to escape her abuser if she has a drug problem? Sure she needs to address her dependency issue as well, however, with BOTH situations in her life, her life is at risk either way. WHY not make BOTH Moves, I’m sure the staff helps them identify all issues to be worked on, as they work with you to help you meet your full potential during your stay. Why would they need to answer to some news article about residents personal issues. That’;s classified, and truthfully, None of your business or anyone elses. If people are not being honest about their drug problems, I’m sure you can spot someone a mile away that is having those kinds of problems, and they can approach them about getting help. It’s not like the Director is standing at the front door with welcome baskets of narcotics??? That is completely absurd. Anyways. Have a Great Day.

        Wednesday, 24 August 2016, 9:46 am
  • this liing POS.
    And the old residents whom are claiming that the dawn center is awful hmmm lets see what were you really doing there bc you were evicted lets get it straight you were doing wrong and you were asked to leave.
    there is also proof that he planted needles and beer bottles around the property.

    hey marlene smith your group only had a certain toy NO OTHER STORES ever had that toy come on now people DUMB

    Sunday, 10 July 2016, 2:00 pm
  • Our group donate toys to the dawn center for the children.I saw the toys at the store. They trade the toys for gift cards. So mark your toys with a black marker on the code so the children gets the toys the center get 800.00 for the year plus donate from from us

    Wednesday, 28 October 2015, 9:38 pm
  • This shelter makes the women trying to flee from abusive relationships feel as though they would be treated better going back to their abusers. Not only do the residents of the Dawn Center get treated poorly they live in conditions less than equal to that of a 1920’s jail cell. They must ask to get to their personal food and medications that are all locked away or they will be stolen, they must ask for clothes that are locked away and out of their access, they must ask for laundry soap and even toilet paper. The house is only really cleaned up when there is a person on the board coming in to do a walk around. There are roaches, ants, and mice. The garbage piles up outside and animals get in to it. The garage is completely off limits to anyone who is not an employee because it is so slammed packed full of stuff that there is a chance that things can fall on your head at any moments notice. The residents have no access to any of the high quality items that are in the garage, like shampoos and conditioners they must only use the hotel samples. I could go on for days about the horrible conditions that those poor women must go through.
    It is not just the women who are treated poorly though, to work there is like being in an abusive relationship in its self. The employees are treated very badly, they are spread so thin that they cannot even take a sick day off without risk of losing their jobs. The management speak to their employees with complete disrespect and disregard. Residents are able to hear the verbal lashings that the employees receive on a daily basis.
    This place needs to be taken care of they need a complete management overhaul and they need to follow the laws, not just make it look like they are when they are being watched
    Mr. Lemmons please feel free to contact

    Wednesday, 23 September 2015, 1:37 am
    • Its not hard to run that place right they need a fresh start.

      Tuesday, 6 October 2015, 2:28 pm
  • I also wish to add..I was there twice. The first time in 2009 was a very nice stay. Great staff…beautiful clientele, some are my forever best friends and sisters. But the help otherwise…was lacking. I went to court alone. With no one from the center. I felt alone….through it all. But I am grateful….for my 1st stay. My second, still makes me angry…when I think about how much abuse I seen and endured And I was giving my all. Working as a volunteer with People helping People, Springhill Regional….and @ the dawn center…anything I could do to give back. I refuse to give up. But now..I sleep in my car…or on someone’s couch. Until I can do better…without help.

    Tuesday, 8 September 2015, 5:34 pm
  • I would like to advise any ladies needing this kind of assistance to consider going to The Springs in Tampa or Casa in St.Pete…where there is much more available. And the facilities are closer to the buses. Transitional housing is often available. For me this was not an option @ the time.

    Tuesday, 8 September 2015, 5:23 pm
  • The best solution is to privatize the organization. A private organization, with skilled management, who have to watch the bottom line in order to insure the continuation of grants to maintain credibility create and maintain professionalism.

    Wednesday, 2 September 2015, 4:40 pm
  • That plaCe iS off of mariner blvd! No secret!! It’s a Joke!

    Wednesday, 2 September 2015, 1:27 pm
  • I mean like really close the dawn center but get new staff do to the good one left now the new woman in shelter will never meet them thy need new advocates and a new KAT I am thankful I had a place to stay with my daughter because I was also pregnant n it was my second time there but they need to really ask questions to these woman there was a another woman n two boys she would go meet men on online n go out to hotels with them n take her boys get high mess up crazy drunk come back and they would say nothing to her those boys didn’t really get to eat there was another mother that use to odee on her meds n b cleaning all day kat got the advocates cleaning the whole day that they dnt get to do there jod right I feel sorry for these girls like me because the dawn center is a nice helpful place but bad management

    Tuesday, 1 September 2015, 9:39 am
  • ME N MY DAUGHTER STOOD THERE ALMOST TWO MONTHS AGO AND MS KAT N MS NANCY TREATED ME N MY DAUGHTER LIKE DOGS KAT IS A HOARDER SHE HAS EVERYTHING IN THE GARAGE SHE DOESNT ALLOW THE ADVOCATES TO GIVE ANYTHING OUT TO THE PARTICIPANTS EASTER SHE GOT BASKETS FOR THE KIDS NOT ONE GOT A BASKET THEIR ALL IN THE GARAGE MOTHERS DAY SHE GOT ALL THESE NICE GIFT BAGS FOR THE MOTHERS IN SHELTER AND NOT ONE GOT NOTHING TWO OF THE BEST ADVOCATE MS AMY AND MS DEBBIE QUIT THEIR JOB BECAUSE KAT WAS ALWAYS GETING ON THEM FOR TRYING TO HELP US AND THEY SAW HOW MESS UP AND COLD HEARTED KAT WAS KAT HAS AN EX CRACK HEAD AS A ADVOCATE WORKING THERE SHE SITS LATE AT NIGHT TELLING PARTICIPANTS HOW SHE USE TO DANCE AND MAKE DRINKS AND GET WASTED WITH DIFFERENT MAN SMH THE DAWN CENTER IS JUST NOT CLEAN THERE WAS A MOTHER OF 4 KIDS THAT WAS SUPPER DIRTY SHE HAD EVERYTHING YOU CAN IMAGINE THEY MOVED A NEW FAMILY IN THE NEXT DAY THE LADY MOVED OUT WITH OUT REALLYING CLEAN THE ROOM OUT POOR GIRL HAD TWO KIDS THEY COUGHT SUMTHING THEM THAT ROOM SHE WAS TREATED LIKE A DOG HER N HER KIDS I FELT SO BAD FOR HER KAT WAS SO SICK OF HER CCOMPLAINING ABOUT HOW DIRTY AND NASTY THEY WERE KAT WANTED TO KICK HER OUT THAT SHE DIDNT GIVE HER AN EXTENSION KNOWING POOR GIRL HAD NO WHERE TO GO WITH HER TWO BABIES THERE WAS ANOTHER MOTHER OF 4KIDS KAT THROW TO THE STREET NOT CARING WHERE THEY WAS GOING KATS THERE TO GET PAID N TAKE FREE STUFF HOME EVERYTHING THATS GETS TO THE DAWN CENTER KAT AND THE ADVOCATES GO THROW THEM FIRST AND THEY TAKE WANT THEY WANT N LEAVE THE UGLY STUFF ASIDE I GIVE IT TO THEM THERE ALOT OF STUFF BUT THE WOMAN IN SHELTER DONT GET NOTHING GOOD OUT OF IT AT ALL BODY WASH SOAPS SHAMPOO CONDITIONER THEY GIVE OUT THE HOTEL SAMPLES WHILE KAT NANCY AND THE ADVOCATES TAKES THE BIG BOTTLES HOME IT WAS THE WORST SIXWEEKS OF MY LIFE STAYING AT THE DAWN CENTER INSTEAD OF THE DAWN CENTER IT SHOULD BE CALLED THE JAIL FOR WOMAN AN CHILDERN FROM THE FIGHTING ,THE DRUG USE, THE DRINKING ,STEALING AND THE MISTREATMENT FROM KAT AND THE ADVOCATE THEY SHOULD CLOSE DOWN THE DAWN CENTER FOR GOOD

    Tuesday, 1 September 2015, 4:08 am
  • My daughter was there last year. She OD twice while there. She also had to buy her own food which was supposed to be under lock and key (staff also had a key). If she left for the day, upon her return she would find quite a bit of food gone. One of the other resident told her that staff was giving the food to some of the women who didn’t have anything.

    Monday, 31 August 2015, 10:38 pm
    • Shame to hear that, why didn’t she stay with you?

      Tuesday, 1 September 2015, 4:31 am
      • Totally Agree another parent that throws her child to the wind

        Wednesday, 2 September 2015, 8:27 am
        • And how many of you have had a child with addiction issues? I watched my mother go through it with my brother. They steal, manipulate and lie. Eventually you get to a point where you have to turn your back for your own sanity. They have to hit rock bottom before they seek help

          Saturday, 14 October 2017, 6:26 pm
    • Wow your daughter was there last year and she over dosed twice while there. Really aren’t you embarrassed that your daughter was there and not with you. Your daughter over dosing then she belongs with family support or a rehab center not the Dawn Center I would be totally embarrassed to even write what you have just posted. What kind of a mother just gives up on her child. You gave birth to her so take responsibility and help her out don’t throw her to outside agencies that are there for a different purpose. No one there is required to purchase their own food lets get that straight right from the beginning so stop spreading lies. Residents may purchase food and many do because they choose to. If they leave it where someone else has access to the items purchased then yes they probably were eaten by another resident. Remember this to Peg Addicts lie and maybe that’s why you aren’t facing your responsibility and helping your own daughter.

      Wednesday, 2 September 2015, 8:25 am
      • Amen Larry Hendershot I sure agree with ya there.

        Wednesday, 9 December 2015, 5:53 pm
    • This whole post is bull!

      Tuesday, 14 March 2017, 5:17 pm
  • I would like to see all the people who are posting use their real names. If you have nothing to hide, that shouldn’t be a problem. It seems only the people who are supportive are using their real names. Hmmm…

    Monday, 31 August 2015, 7:57 pm
  • I am simply amazed by the commentators on this thread who have no direct experience with, or knowledge of, the Dawn Center who are willing to believe any allegation made without any corroboration. What a hateful herd mentality it demonstrates.

    Monday, 31 August 2015, 7:25 pm
  • A government subsidized organization just like Planned Parent Hood.

    Monday, 31 August 2015, 3:22 pm
  • The reason some of these women do not have family support or help is because they have already burned their bridges with the family and DCF will not take those children in need from them. Larry Hendershot, I will go with what the ER staff and others are saying, for I have witnessed what comes and goes from Dawn Center and the drug and alcohol abuse that goes with it. The ones who mentioned the early 2000’s the lady running Dawn Center had one child and that child was and still is a drug addict who has never amounted to anything or sees his own child. An independent audit needs done and multiple cameras need put in place. Dawn Center gains a ton in grant money. Instead of letting abused woman and children go there I’ve taken them into my home. It’s a much safer and better environment.

    Monday, 31 August 2015, 10:13 am
    • God Bless you !! I heard there was a private home over near patio and 19. But I was unable to find any info on other options. So struggle I still do, after rushing out, and losing my apt. Now I am again @ the mercy of others.

      Tuesday, 8 September 2015, 5:17 pm
  • The Board of Directors look the other way. Most of them are on the board for one reason – it looks good on a resume’ just like when the sheriff wanted to be on the board and someone who really cared and donated time and love to the center had to step down to make room for him. I call bullsh*t on the sheriff on this one. Here is something that wasn’t raised in your article. Women are not given help to leave – they go back to their abuser in many cases. This is a bandaid not a healing new start. I call bullsh*t on the Dawn Ctr for that. A major clean up is needed and the state of FL needs to help out because this center is hemorrhaging tax dollars. Someone needs to step in and close the wound.

    Monday, 31 August 2015, 10:05 am
  • The center needs an independant ombudsman office, paid for by the Dawn Center, but not hired by them. Put the expense of their problems back on them, not the taxpayers.

    Monday, 31 August 2015, 9:43 am
  • stayed in 2006.. lots of clicks.. for the most part it was clean, and run well. as far as a few things I noticed were one with a woman who was always druged up to the max .had no children there and was allowed to stay for over year name was TERRI. Terri was a pill popping bad example and should not have been allowed to be so medicated . she sold and traded her pills which made her popular. Not what a battered child should be around at no time what so ever. .. No calways woman and ESPECIALLY CHILDREN in need . Blesshildren living with her. one incident with theft was in the office where someone stole someone else’s meds. out of her locker that is in the main office. also over doses and a baby crawling picked up and ate a unknown pill and had to be transferred to hospital. over a year. Marijuana being smoked in back of building . If anything I would suggest more cameras , more help as far as counseling (which was none).. Girls would sit in office with whoever was on night duty for hours at a time 2 or3 am joking and talking about others . as we know most of these woman are at a drastic ,weak time in there lives and have been thrown out with nothing and there children. they need direction , love ,privacy which there is none .any one can go in your room or private stuff. there is no faith or direction for help from our LORD or Higher Power if you would like that better and no reading material or direction for Christianity if that’s the direction a woman would care to go. No transportation unless you walk to bus stop which can be dangerous for the victim. No ones perfect but my opinion is it def. could use some cleaning up! as far as HELP AND TRUE CARE not just hey ok your here. there some food a bed and a bathroom . Drinking , theft and drugs were a big problem. all meds should have to be locked and given out and counted by a responsible authorized Higher Authority. was run by the residents that were there just to live for free. some were never even battered or a victim of domestic violence. they were just homeless and lazy and looking for a free ride. I am Grateful for the help and shelter I did receive at the time. I found the facility Clean and felt protected from my batterer however there is room for improvement! GOOD LUCK because there is always someone in need. ESPECIALLY CHILDREN!!

    Monday, 31 August 2015, 8:05 am
  • Larry Hendershot, your last sentence says it all. The Dawn Center was not meant to be a drug and alcohol rehab. It is for abused women and their children. If a woman comes in there and uses drugs or alcohol, then they need to be put out on the street, and put their children in foster care. A lot of these women only have their children with them so that they can use the system. It gets them into places like the Dawn Center, so they have somewhere to stay, and people to help take care of their children while they sleep off their high. They also get more in food stamps that they in turn sell all, or a portion of to get more drugs. If they are high or drunk at the Dawn Center, please tell me how they can do anything to better themselves? They are never going to pass a drug test to get employment, and they can’t stay straight long enough to even go looking for a job. Either use the Dawn Center for what it is meant for…..or shut it down.

    Monday, 31 August 2015, 7:52 am
  • Was there for a few days around 2007, I can’t remember the woman’s name who ran things during my short stay there but she was unprofessional and had little compassion. I did not receive any help there and out of frustration went right back to the abusive situation I was trying to get away from. I was later informed that woman was let go. I had hoped things would improve there but seems they only got worse.

    Monday, 31 August 2015, 7:42 am
  • Alot of domestic violence stems from substance abuse so I’m not surprised there are substance abuse problems at a DVD shelter

    Monday, 31 August 2015, 7:37 am
  • What a shame staff members taking the donated goodies! My God what’s happening to the children who honestly deserve this?

    Monday, 31 August 2015, 7:36 am
    • Don’t believe everything you read here by past residents many who have been ejected and have and agenda. I have collected many donations for the Dawn Center and I can tell you that the staff does not have access to the gift cards, they are given directly to the administration and not taken by staff. To those nurses who have moved on it sounds like you all needed to move on. Your in a profession that is suppose to help and support people and yes even those who have been abused and have turned to drugs. These are human beings that should never be given up on. Maybe you nurses need to change your professions if you can’t handle reality. Oak Hill Hospital likes to advertise how they and the staff care for people and how fast people are entered into the e-ward. Looks like it’s untrue if we have nursing staff like you folks and as far at the waiting time it is true that you are entered very fast but then you wait for hours in the room they put you in. Such a misconception.

      Monday, 31 August 2015, 12:22 pm
      • I will introduce myself here…a former resident…quoted in this article. I spoke only the truth. I was a big supporter in the past…as I have been twice. Do to my on going divorce from my abuser…and getting up..without much help. Still struggling…even sleep in my car sometimes. No substance abuse, under educated but def not stupid. Abuse in the facility happens…and the women are allowed to stay. I have no axe to grind,,but that they were dying to give my bed away because I was out nights working @ the hospital and in private homes. 60 and 80 hrs a week….than have to sleep in my car, because a woman had issues. And I love my sister still, but I needed a break form my job as a CPR certified safety sitter. Sitting with baker acts and dementia. But I was 24/7…because I have love…and tolerance for the women. I did everything I could to encourage and help them…to help themselves. And I agree on the nurses…maybe a diff job is best.

        Tuesday, 8 September 2015, 5:10 pm
  • The article reflects drug & alcohol abuse on the part of the residents. The drug epidemic has deteriorated our society to a breaking point. If the abuse victims did not have the Dawn Center, they would be on the streets and that’s no solution (especially with children). Obviously if they had family or friends who could take them in, they wouldn’t be there amongst strangers with varying habits and morals. The Dawn Center is a shelter & counseling center, not a drug rehab facility. Our community needs to support the center and the women through prayer, volunteering and yes, donations (that can be clothing, etc). And there needs to be some added measure of accountability. Unless we are willing to take them in, I don’t believe we can gripe & moan.

    Monday, 31 August 2015, 6:45 am
    • I am glad that someone is responding with common sense replies! Thank you!

      Monday, 31 August 2015, 7:53 pm
    • I totally agree with you ! I can gripe though. I earned it. lol

      Tuesday, 8 September 2015, 5:36 pm
  • Maybe an outside audit might help and fix some of the flaws….don’t forget they’re there for a reason….some residents might not like rules…..

    Monday, 31 August 2015, 6:04 am
  • From past experiences as an ER provider in that area, to me, I have concluded that the Dawn center is a government subsidized drug center. Some of these women claim abuse, when in reality they are washed up drug addicted prostitutes who look for a crack in the system for temporary free housing. Its tough to keep your crack pipe lit in the rain.
    I agree with Adler on the fact that we are frustrated that we work our butts off to pay high taxes only to have them squandered by this facility. I too have moved on.

    Monday, 31 August 2015, 6:03 am
  • Lovely women there…sounds like someone didn’t slap the shiznit out of them enough!

    Monday, 31 August 2015, 12:18 am
  • While I did not stay at the shelter, I found the Dawn Center support staff and counseling services to be excellent. They were extremely caring and compassionate. They helped me work through what I was feeling and prepare a safety plan. They were able to guide me to the resources I needed. The hardest part was that they are understaffed so getting appointments was difficult. This is the ONLY shelter in the county and I think they’re doing the best they can with what they have.

    Monday, 31 August 2015, 12:01 am
    • I am sorry…but I must disagree with you on doing there best now days. But they do have some awesome staff…and outreach. Abuse in the facility should never be tolerated. And hard women who are really giving there all, should be given the max. I chance to self sustain.

      Tuesday, 8 September 2015, 4:57 pm
  • Who are the board of directors?

    Sunday, 30 August 2015, 11:47 pm
    • Great question!!!! Did anyone ever respond??

      Sunday, 13 November 2016, 10:51 pm
  • Thanks for putting forth the truth regarding what is really going on at the DC. My family has been a financial supporter and many community groups have also provided support in one way or the other. This appears to be a deplorable and out of control situation were the inmates are running the show. Bad, real bad!

    Sunday, 30 August 2015, 10:48 pm
  • As a former Police Officer I have seen many women who have been abused. Since being retired I looked for and avenue to donate my time. I signed on with the Dawn Center as a volunteer and took their training course. They did a complete background check on me to ensure that I wasn’t a violator of law. I have spoken with and worked with most if not all of the employees and found them and the facility to be properly run and stafted. Taking into consideration that those who are requested to leave have a grudge I would take some if not all of these complaints with a grain of salt. Having a 40 bed facility filled to capacity most of the time with women and children who have no support, no jobs and no family that is willing to assist them should tell you a lot about how difficult it is to run this facility. I’ve found Shannon and her staff to be extremely professional in running this facility. Most of what has been posted here is untruths most probably posted by women who previously lived there and couldn’t get their never ending free ride. I personally believe that these women who run this place do a fantastic job with what they have to work with. Remember these folks are working with women who have no or very little support, many have been abosed and many have drug and alcohol problems and no funds to support themselves

    Sunday, 30 August 2015, 10:16 pm
    • Hi Larry. My name is Debbie. I lived there…twice. The first time in 2009 there were some great women. And I loved some of the staff very much !! That being said…there are big problems ! My biggest problem was not even that one staff would offer to do something to help me, only to have another over ride them. But often times I seen preference given to women who were only there to party. And they come back….repeatedly. I rushed out both times. The last time it was because I seen women being abused by other women. And I had an alcoholic sleeping in the bunk bed over me. She would spill water on me, drop food on me, and than one day she got so drunk she pucked all over the room. I had worked my usual 12 hour shift. The only axe I have to grind, is I was trying to better myself…and to help those trying to help there self as much as possible. And staff thought it was funny. I always loved Lana, but she laughed @ the fact I had to sleep in her office.

      Wednesday, 9 December 2015, 5:46 pm
  • Sounds like a taxpayer flop house for drunks and druggies that reproduced and have no where else to go or better themselves

    Sunday, 30 August 2015, 9:50 pm
  • I lived there in 2008 as well. Yes, I did see women who took advantage of the fact that they did not need to pay rent to stay there and were basically guaranteed three meals a day. Staff tried very hard to prevent drinking and drug use among residents, but let’s face it, they are adults and cannot be watched 24/7. That is not the purpose of the Dawn center to begin with. In my 8 weeks there, I saw at least three residents be expelled for having alcohol on the property or for intoxication. It is meant to be a safe haven while the resident works to figure out a life plan, and how to move forward in taking care of themselves and their children. I arrived there with my van and very little money. By the time I left 8 weeks later, I was registered for college. 7 years later, I have a Bachelor’s Degree and have been teaching for three years now. I owe much in my life to the safety and security the Dawn Center provided when I needed it. I don’t believe it’s the Dawn Center as much as some of the types of residents who end up there. They do not administer drug tests when you come, but they try to steer you in the right direction. It does sound like they need to be more strict on those who violate the policies though. It is a difficult position to be in when the reality is that these women have nowhere else to go if they are booted from the program, except back to their abuser.

    Sunday, 30 August 2015, 9:22 pm
  • Debbie Andrews ran the place until 2010. That woman couldn’t control her own spending. I don’t know how anyone expected her to run this place. When Debbie Andrews worked for the YMCA she filed for bankruptcy and hid valuable assets so the courts didn’t know about them. She got the position because of who she knew. A slimy snake is what she was and is.

    Sunday, 30 August 2015, 9:00 pm
  • I lived there in 2010 and had $250 stolen from me, a police report was made . It was a joke, so many druggies that didn’t do anything to better themselves.

    Sunday, 30 August 2015, 9:00 pm
  • I was interning at another domestic violence shelter & while there I witnessed where a girl, her children & mother were emergency rushed to the shelter I was interning at. This was bc while staying at the Dawn Center, they allowed her abuser to talk to her on the phone bc he lied & said he was a CPI. This is against policy & any CPI will show up at the shelter with credentials. Also they kick women out within s specified amount of time whether or not they have someplace safe to go.This place needs to be investigated & they need to be reevaluated
    They need someone who is going to keep these women’s anonymity & it put them in danger.

    Sunday, 30 August 2015, 8:56 pm
  • I am amazed and disgusted by what has been brought to light about this facility. As a survivor of Domestic Violence who has been through a women’s shelter for DV in another state, I think the administrators and the board of directors for this facility are doing these women a disservice. I was fortunate that the shelter I lived in was well run by caring, compassionate, firm, and fair case managers and facilitators. The opportunities available to me helped me to work through my situation, and there were substance abuse guidelines that were upheld. I recently celebrated 8 years clean and sober, have earned an AS degree, and am working on my bachelors. I am fully aware of what is possible when these facilities are ran for the sole purpose of helping women to get on their feet, I was blessed and will be eternally grateful to those angels who helped change my life.
    I will be writing letters about this problem to everyone I believe should know and can possibly help rectify the situation. These women truly need a women’s shelter that has integrity and really cares about helping them get back on their feet.

    Sunday, 30 August 2015, 8:52 pm
  • Lived there 2009. Saw staff take gift cards, bedding donations, and other donations home for themselves that were donated by local businesses, some meant as Christmas gifts to residents. Staff would extend some girls stays, even if they were considered “trouble”, while cutting others stays to 3 weeks, even if they had been unsuccessful in finding work or personal transportation. No real guidelines, just whether the crooked staff liked you, or knew you previously. They were not all like this, but many were. Dont be fooled either, they are not volunteers, they are paid, then get “extra” as the donations are not properly cataloged.

    Sunday, 30 August 2015, 8:45 pm

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