Sojourner House receives grant to plan local advocacy program

Sojourner House receives grant to plan local advocacy program

SMITHFIELD - October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and Sojourner House, the Providence organization that helps domestic violence victims, reminded the Town Council last week that it also serves residents of Northern Rhode Island, including Smithfield.

In fact, Executive Director Vanessa Volz said the nonprofit agency, which provides housing and resources for victims of domestic abuse, recently received a $500 grant to plan an advocacy program here, possibly at one of the libraries.

Sojourner House also announced recently that it has won a $300,000 federal grant to help fund its transitional housing program, which provides aid to victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking who are either homeless or in need of housing assistance.

Volz, who was invited to the meeting by Councilwoman Maxine Cavanagh, said the organization maintains a 24-hour hotline for victims (765-3233), offers a drop-in center, and is available for programs in schools or before community groups.

Founded in 1976 by members of the Brown University community, the organization has grown from beginnings as an all-volunteer hotline to a 24-hour, staffed and volunteer-assisted provider of support and advocacy.

In addition to its hotline and shelter programs, Sojourner House also works to raise awareness on issues including teen violence, AIDS prevention, abuse of the elderly, and same-sex partner abuse.

The agency was named for Sojourner Truth, a 19th century slave who later, as an abolitionist, traveled the nation speaking on behalf of women.

Sojourner House maintains a resource center at 386 Smith St., Providence. The telephone number there is 861-6191.

The agency does not use caller ID and blocks identification of its outgoing calls.