West Houston Assistance Ministries seeks for donations to support domestic abuse victims

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- West Houston Assistance Ministries has provided food, rent relief, clothing, and more to Houstonians since its inception in 1982. However, a recent trend is forcing the nonprofit to add an entirely new program to its list of services.

"We've had a huge influx of clients coming in who have been survivors of domestic violence," said Sonya Scott of West Houston Assistance Ministries. "We're soliciting donations to help these individuals."

Scott said WHAM used to see 15 survivors of domestic abuse a year. That number grew to 289 in 2021, so they're working on a long-term solution to get survivors the help and assistance they need to recover from abusive relationships.

"The donations will help (survivors) secure apartments, application fees, transportation, child care, and food," said Scott. "Those are some of the things we want to do with this program."

Barbie Brashear, who is the executive director of the Harris County Violence Domestic Coordinating Council, said domestic violence cases are on the rise across Harris County. Brashear said felony-level domestic violence assault cases have increased more than 50% over the last two years, while domestic violence homicides increased the same amount from 2020 to 2021.

"What's really concerning is this is what's being reported," said Brashear. "What's being unreported in our community?"

Brashear said getting the help provided by programs like the one being started at West Houston Assistance Ministries can have a tremendous impact on victims of domestic violence.

"That's success - someone saying they feel safer because of a resource," Brashear said. "There are real tangible results from those (resources)."

West Houston Assistance Ministries has applied for grants but said private donations are currently needed to launch the program in a timely fashion.

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