Shelter for battered women to dedicate expanded services

June 07, 1999|By Tom Pelton | Tom Pelton,SUN STAFF

Baltimore's only shelter for battered women has almost quadrupled its number of beds.

The House of Ruth, a 22-year-old nonprofit organization at 2201 Argonne Drive, plans a ceremony Wednesday to dedicate its new 84-bed shelter, officials said.

"The crucial reason for the expansion is that we were turning away significant numbers of women for whom a shelter was their only possible way to escape from an abusive relationship," said Carole Alexander, executive director of the agency.

FOR THE RECORD - An article in yesterday's Maryland section about the House of Ruth womens' shelter incorrectly described the relationship between Ruth and Naomi, from the Bible's Book of Ruth. Naomi was Ruth's mother-in-law and provided Ruth shelter after Ruth's husband died. The Sun regrets the error.

"For every woman who found shelter at the House of Ruth, another two were turned away due to limited space," she said.

The shelter will counsel battered women and offer classes to teach them job-hunting tactics, computer skills, child-rearing and how to improve their personal and professional lives.

The $5.3 million expansion was funded by federal, state and city grants, and private donations.

State Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr. said the House of Ruth gives families in crisis a safe environment so that they can tackle their problems.

"The need has always been there. Sadly, there is a lot of domestic violence, and I think the House of Ruth has always needed this many beds, if not more," Curran said.

Before the expansion, the organization had a 24-bed shelter, 70 employees and a $2.3 million annual budget. With the expansion, the shelter has 105 employees and a $3.2 million budget.

In addition to shelter and counseling, the organization offers a 24-hour hot line and legal services.

The organization's name comes from the Book of Ruth in the Bible, in which Ruth provides shelter and care for her daughter-in-law Naomi after Naomi's husband dies.

Pub Date: 6/07/99

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