WASHINGTON CITY – The Erin Kimball Foundation held a ribbon cutting and open house for its newest transitional housing facility Thursday.
The Erin Kimball Foundation provides transitional housing and services for women and their children who are escaping domestic violence situations. Located on Telegraph Street, the new facility contains a mix of offices, a kitchen, play area and open space on the first floor where foundation participants can receive services and learn various life skills. On the second floor are three apartments that are already occupied.
The home is one of many transitional housing facilities the foundation has scattered throughout the community, said Sue Kimball, the foundation’s executive director.
“We come to this work from a very personal place,” Sue Kimball said.
The foundation is named after Sue Kimball’s stepdaughter, Erin, who along with her two children was killed by her husband in August 1983; he also killed himself. Prior to the murders, Erin Kimball had taken the children and left what had been an abusive marriage.
The nonprofit Erin Kimball Foundation was later formed in 2002.
“We literally are about saving lives and ending the repeated, intergenerational cycle of domestic violence,” Sue Kimball said. “…Our goal is to end domestic violence.”
Many times while addressing a crowd gathered for the dedication of the new building and ribbon cutting, Sue Kimball referred to the new home as a “labor of love” for many of the people involved in its creation.
Hundred of thousands of dollars in time and materials and thousands of hours of labor have been donated to renovating the property, Sue Kimball said.
One of the groups involved in transforming the home into a transitional housing facility was the Shepherd of the Hills United Methodist Church. Rev. Mike Chamness, a pastor at the church, gave the dedicatory prayer over the new home.
“From a terrible tragedy, an amazing future is being forged,” Chamness said prior to the prayer, later saying, “… Instead of letting it be grief, (the Kimballs) decided to make it transformative.”
Sue and her husband, Don Kimball, are not members of the Shepherd of the Hill’s congregation, yet their passion for their work in the foundation is infectious and got many church members involved in the project, Chamness said.
Grants from various government and private organizations and donations from private individuals also helped make the new facility a reality.
“We could not have done this without all of the community support,” Sue Kimball said.
One of the groups she specifically thanked was Washington City that supplied funds through a community block grant received from the federal government. The city gave the foundation $150,000 in 2013 from the block grant to aid in the completion of the renovation.
Later that year there were some bumps in the road between the Erin Kimball Foundation and city officials over the City Council’s approval of a pending indoor gun range proposed by Dixie Gunworx, which at the time was located next to the transitional housing facility. Foundation members argued the gun range would cause trauma to residents escaping domestic violence. Supporters of the shooting range said they had no evidence to support the claim.
Though approved by the City Council with conditions attached, the indoor gun range ultimately did not come to fruition. Dixie Gunworx has since relocated to a new location on Sunset Boulevard in St. George.
- Finding courage, hope, self after abuse; Erin Kimball Foundation; STGnews Videocast
- Washington City Council approves controversial gun range
- Washington grants $150K to nonprofit’s transitional housing project
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