A McCracken County based program aimed at combating domestic violence received two grants totaling $750,000 dollars Monday. Governor Matt Bevin presented the Merryman House in Paducah with a Community Development Block Grant of $500,000 to go towards their capital campaign.
The proceeds will be used towards acquiring a new campus. The proposed campus is 26 acres and 8 buildings.
The program will add substance abuse services in addition to domestic abuse services. The expansion means the Merryman House can increase bed space from 24 to 36. The total goal of the capitol campaign is $3.7 million.
The Delta Regional Authority also presented $250,000 Monday.
With these funds, the campaign is at 74% completion.
Merryman House serves eight counties in far western Kentucky, including Ballard, Calloway, Carlisle, Fulton, Graves, Hickman, Marshall and McCracken Counties.
Merryman Executive Director Mary Foley said the intersection of substance abuse and domestic violence is significant. “We know that somewhere between 92 and 94 percent of individuals who are currently seeking treatment for a substance abuse issue have interpersonal violence in their history." She said in treating substance abuse, there needs to be attention on the root issue, which often includes trauma of some kind: childhood sexual assault, incidents of domestic violence or exposure to violence.
While there is no ‘magic wand’ solution to ending domestic violence, conversations about this issue have been too narrow said Foley, "Between a moment of violence between a perpetrator to a victim there are sometimes 30 plus people that intersect those individuals that could prevent that from occurring." She said it’s going to take everyone realizing there’s a place to take part in the battle against domestic violence to change the norm and culture.
Merryman house shelters 125 to 150 people each year. Including regional offices (Calloway, Graves and Marshall), they serve upwards of 800 western Kentuckians.
The current Merryman house is for sale commercially and residentially.
This story has been updated.