'Adopt-An-Apartment' Program Helps Domestic Violence Victims - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

'Adopt-An-Apartment' Program Helps Domestic Violence Victims

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A program helps domestic violence victims by providing housing for those that otherwise might be homeless after fleeing abusive relationships.

The Volunteer State ranks number three in the country for women being killed by intimate partners. A group of prosecutors have decided to not only help domestic violence victims in the courtroom, but at home as well.

It took a lot of courage for Yolanda King to leave an abusive relationship in Louisiana.

"You know, to go through abuse and wind up being homeless. Leaving a secure job and leaving my family you know it's very emotional," she said.

For several months she moved in and out of emergency shelters trying to escape her abuser, but each shelter would only let her stay between 30 and 45 days.

"I could never concentrate on me healing so that I wouldn't go through this process again," Yolanda explained.

She needed more, and she found it in Nashville.The Mary Parrish Center provides two years of transitional housing for women like Yolanda who are literally starting their lives all over.

The center runs a program offering free rent, job training, and counseling for two years.

Space is limited and so is money. That's why Davidson County Assistant District Attorney Tali Rosenblum has led an effort to help.

In March, the Davidson County District Attorney's Office recreated a domestic violence unit.

"As a team we thought we wanted to do a project in our community that goes outside the courts where we could help victims of domestic violence, because there's so much more than prosecuting the case. They need some where to live," said Rosenblum.

The center has an Adopt-An-Apartment program. Tali led a group of prosecutors and other professionals and raised more than $4,500 to adopt an apartment which pays for a woman's rent and utilities for a year.

"We decided to start this 45-45-45 campaign where we asked 45 people to raise $4,500 in 45 days," she said.

They actually raised more, and the apartment will be fully furnished.

It will look a lot like Laura Klesen's place. She's also at the Mary Parrish Center to get away from abuse.

"A place like this is a welcome haven to those of us who need a home, because a lot of us are homeless, and have nowhere to go. We have no family. We have no friends," she said.

Yolanda has since found a job, and she starts work next week. She said she couldn't have done without the help of the center.

"You can make that step and get out. It's scary, but you can start over," Yolanda said.

Those would like to make a donation to Mary Parrish Center's "Adopt-An-Apartment" program can go to www.maryparrish.org.

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