08/23/06 — Lighthouse reopening its shelter

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Lighthouse reopening its shelter

By Becky Barclay
Published in News on August 23, 2006 1:49 PM

After almost six months of repairs and renovations, Wayne County's battered women's shelter is expected to reopen next week.

The safehouse, operated by the Lighthouse of Wayne County, closed in mid-February and was supposed to reopen the beginning of July.

The building had serious electrical problems that required major repairs, said Cheri Seronic, the facility's director.

"A bedroom on the second floor had no electricity at all," she said.

The renovation project was funded through a $105,000 federal Housing and Urban Development grant. While the safehouse was closed for repairs, victims of domestic violence who had been staying there were temporarily housed at safehouses in neighboring counties or stayed with relatives.

The work took so long because an asbestos inspection had to be conducted and any asbestos removed, according to the terms of the grant, Mrs. Seronick said.

"Of course, it's an old building so they found some asbestos. Then they had to send in the hazard abatement team. That set us back several weeks," she said.

Since then, the entire safehouse has been rewired. There has also been a lot of plumbing work done and toilets and showers were replaced. New floors were put down in the kitchen and dining room because there was quite a bit of water damage from the old plumbing, Mrs. Seronick said. Old, worn out carpeting also has been replaced.

"Probably one of the biggest deals for us is that the laundry area has been moved from the hallway to an enclosed porch," she said. "That got it out of the thoroughfare. There's always someone doing laundry and when they were doing it in that hallway, it got really congested. We now have connections for two washers and two dryers in that room. We're hoping to get new appliances in there," she said.

Mrs. Seronick said there's also now a play area for children while mom is doing laundry.

"We got to pick out paint colors and carpet patterns. It's all earth tones. We got new curtains and beds," she said.

Local contractors currently are finishing up the last of the work and painting. Once the safehouse is inspected by the city, the new furniture will be taken to the safehouse.

Mrs. Seronick said it's taken every penny of the grant money to repair and renovate the safehouse, which has a capacity of 24 people. Volunteers are gearing up for the move, she said.

"We're pretty excited about the renovations," Mrs. Seronic said.

For its Days of Caring project, the Lighthouse is asking for donations of materials to build playground equipment for the children staying at the safehouse. What is there now is in poor condition, she said.

Another project the Lighthouse could use some help with, she said, is creating a memorial flower garden to be dedicated to the late Jesse Peacock. Mrs. Peacock helped the Lighthouse in many ways, especially with the annual Christmas party for the facility's clients and Family Day.