Harmony House opens new domestic violence shelter

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KSPR) - Domestic violence numbers are at a five-year high in Springfield. One area shelter is taking steps to change those statistics. Harmony House opened its new location on Friday just off Battlefield Road at U.S. 65.

"My husband beat me 11 times in our first year of marriage," said Brenda Johnson.

Johnson is a domestic violence survivor- turned-case worker at the first shelter. The 100-year-old shelter is where she says she sees the face of violence every day.

"Sometimes they'll come in where they've gotten hit with something, and they still have blood on them," said Johnson.

And it is no secret where the victims will be now: at the new Harmony House shelter that you can see from U.S. 65.

"Simply driving by in the car may be the only way they know that we're here," said Lisa Farmer, executive director.

That is why the executive director says there are signs everywhere pointing to the new $6 million building. It can house 160 victims.

"We've got state-of-the-art security; this is a pretty tightened down facility, so we feel very good about it," said Farmer.

It's a major 50-bed upgrade from the old shelter on Cherry Street that will close down once all the families move to the new shelter. Now they say they can start going down the waiting list of hundreds who still need help getting out of domestic violence.

"To finally get a shelter for these women who suffer domestic violence," said Farmer.