Representatives for the Center for Domestic Peace gave Sylva Town Board members an update on Jan. 9 on efforts to become independent of REACH of Macon County and asked the board for its support.

CDP Board member Bob Cochran recounted the history of REACH of Jackson County and the need for a new provider.

In 2012 REACH of Macon County began providing services to victims of domestic violence and rape for Jackson County residents. Macon County took over after REACH of Jackson ran into financial trouble due in part to the economic downturn. The Jackson office was also in crisis after one of its clients, Bonnie Woodring, was murdered by her spouse in a REACH of Jackson safe house in 2006.

“It has been our intention as a community ever since then to rejuvenate domestic violence services in Jackson County,” Cochran said. “I don’t think any of us involved since 2012 anticipated that it would take as long as it has or that it would have been such a steep climb.”

The Center for Domestic Peace has worked with REACH to rebuild services in the county. CDP is at the point of being able to take over full operations. A full time office is located on Ridgeway Street, and services are provided five days a week with REACH’s assistance.

On July 1, CDP will become the only provider of services to domestic violence victims in Jackson. REACH will continue to provide shelter for victims and offer sexual assault services in the meantime. CDP will provide hotel rooms to victims who cannot leave Jackson County to stay in the Macon shelter.

“It’s a very significant move,” Cochran said. “Domestic violence services are something that is best done locally because you want to be able to meet needs immediately. And you want to be able to provide those services locally and not ask anyone to wait or travel.”

Cochran asked the board to pass a resolution supporting the CDP as the only domestic violence service provider for the area.

The towns of Webster and Dillsboro have supported similar resolutions. 

CDP will begin applying for state funding this summer. The recognition would be important to securing that funding.

Cochran asked for any level of support whether financial or on paper that the town would be willing to provide.

A resolution would also go toward helping the CDP get name recognition among county residents, Cochran said.

The board told Cochran they would consider a resolution of support.