CJ’s Place almost open

Published 10:47 pm Thursday, April 22, 2010

The newest resource in Suffolk for victims of domestic violence will be completed within the next 30 days.

CJ’s Place, a project of the Genieve Shelter, will open as soon as the furniture for the remaining two apartments comes in, Genieve Shelter director Val Livingston said Thursday. Applications for housing in the facility are being accepted now.

CJ’s Place will house female victims of domestic violence, and their children, who want to get ahead, but do not yet have the necessary elements for success, like a high school diploma or job training.

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The center, which is named for Delegate Chris Jones in honor of his longtime support of the organization, sits in a confidential location. It includes four two-bedroom apartments and a community center with recreational and fitness equipment and computers.

“Our program is designed to enhance human capital,” Livingston said. “We’re actually trying to help the women change their human capital.”

To qualify to live in CJ’s Place, women must have been in or currently be in an emergency shelter for between three weeks and 30 days. That time period gives the shelter staff an opportunity to assess the woman’s level of motivation to better her situation.

“They do have to be motivated,” Livingston said. “They have to be willing to do some things.”

Once in CJ’s Place, the women and their children can stay there for up to two years. In the meantime, they must get their GED if they do not have a diploma or its equivalent; complete a job training program of their choice; save a certain percentage of their income and pay up to 30 percent of their income as a program fee each month; complete counseling requirements; and keep their apartment clean and orderly, as well as help clean the common areas. They also must abide by conditions of confidentiality and security, which include having no visitors at the home.

They also are able to take advantage of case management services provided by the Genieve Shelter.

Women who complete all the things they need to do before two years are up can leave the shelter early, Livingston said. However, they must be leaving to permanent housing and have a job that pays a livable wage, as opposed to minimum wage.

“They have to be willing to do [all those things],” Livingston said. “It’s not sitting around waiting for a handout. It’s their desire for a better life for them and their children.”

The home’s amenities include two bedrooms, with a total of four beds, in each of the four apartments; a common area with computers that children can use for homework and women can use for job searches and other needs; an alarm system and video camera surveillance; and basic furnishings.

“It is as close to a normal, natural lifestyle as they would have out in public, with conditions of confidentiality and security,” Livingston said.

For more information about CJ’s Place and the Genieve Shelter, call 925-4365.