Conway women’s shelter works to keep doors open during COVID-19 pandemic as hotline calls spike

CONWAY, Ark. — Arkansas women’s shelters are working to make sure people know they still have resources available for help during this pandemic.

While nearly everything seems to be closed these days, domestic violence shelters in Arkansas are making sure they keep their doors open.

“All the shelters across the state are open. They’re receiving hotline calls,” Executive Director of the Women’s Shelter of Central Arkansas Breanne McClendon said.

McClendon also said the shelter in Conway still has available space.

“My staff has been incredible and just being so flexible about working hard and really cleaning to make sure that we can stay open,” she said.

The shelter has seen a 25% increase in hotline calls this quarter. It’s likely this pandemic is causing more women to seek help.

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“People that go to work that maybe are in not such great relationships, work is an escape for them,” McClendon said.

The hotline is there to walk you through a safety plan if you feel you are in danger.

“People think, ‘oh, if I call the hotline I have to go to the shelter’ but we’re here to provide resources,” she said.

If you can’t make a phone call… you can always message the Women’s Shelter of Central Arkansas’ Facebook page. Experts say to try and get help from someone close to you as well.

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“I know that it’s hard to make that call to a shelter, so we really push to be able to reach out to people you know and love,” McClendon said.

That hotline is there even if you just need someone to talk to, especially in times of stress.

“We really are there for that outreach not just for people coming into shelter but for people that need the help, the safety and a little guidance on what the next step should be,” she said.

To reach out to the Women’s Shelter of Arkansas call the crisis hotline at (866) 358-2265.

A list of women’s shelters in central Arkansas:

  • Gaines House: (501) 376-4015
  • Family Promise of Pulaski County: (501) 372-0733
  • Our House: (501) 374-7383