Groundbreaking at new DAIS facility - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Groundbreaking at new DAIS facility

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MADISON (WKOW) -- After years of planning and raising money, Domestic Abuse Intervention Services (DAIS) broke ground on its new facility Wednesday.

Shelter officials say this project not only provides more beds, but also puts in the issue of domestic abuse in the public eye.

"We run the only emergency domestic violence shelter for the county and we actually have the smallest domestic violence shelter per capita of the entire state of Wisconsin," DAIS Executive Director Shannon Barry tells 27 News.

The new facility will change that, doubling the current amount of beds and helping expand services DAIS already offers.

"We're finally going to have a facility that addresses the needs that exist in our community," Dane County Executive Joe Parisi says.

According to Barry, in 2012 there were more than 8,000 instances where those who needed shelter had to be put on a waiting list.

"It is a significant issue. There's not a weekend that goes by that our deputies are not responding to multiple domestic violence cases," Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney says.

The location of DAIS' current shelter is kept a secret for security reasons but that won't be the case for the new facility on Fordem Avenue. Barry says it will be built from the ground up with security in mind. "Domestic violence thrives in secrecy and I think having a public location, not only is it safer, I think it sends a very strong message from the community to victims and survivors that they are worthy of support," she says.

Barry says about $560,000 came from Governor Scott Walker's capital budget to help with construction. The organization still needs about $2 million to meet their campaign goal.

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MADISON (WKOW) -- A groundbreaking ceremony for Domestic Abuse Intervention Services, Inc. (DAIS) was held Wednesday morning at their new shelter location on Fordem Avenue.

Executive Director Shannon Barry says she hopes to move into the new facility next summer. "We still must raise just over $2 million to meet our capital campaign goal and hope those who know that our community desperately needs a better shelter and increased program space will find a way to give with gifts of any size," she says.

DAIS is the only domestic violence program serving Dane County. In recent years, the organization has experienced a huge increase in the number of individuals and families needing assistance. Shelter officials say an emergency domestic violence shelter is long overdue.

The current DAIS Shelter is the smallest domestic violence shelter per capita in the entire state of Wisconsin (1 emergency shelter bed per 19,000 people compared to the state average of 1 bed per 7,500 people). In 2012, there were over 8,200 nights that DAIS had to waitlist people with high safety needs for shelter due to the limited bed space available.
 
Reporter Danielle Lama will have more on DAIS' new facility tonight on 27 News at 5 & 6.
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