Madeline's House Faces Loss Of Nottoway Facility

Published 3:53 pm Thursday, April 5, 2012

NOTTOWAY – Madeline's House sounded an urgent alert this week in hopes the only shelter for victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse in the 12-county area can be saved.

Over 1,500 acres at Fort Pickett will be dedicated to use by the U.S. State Department Foreign Affairs Security Training Center (FASTC) project. Madeline's House is located on that 1,500 acres, though just a tiny piece of the land.

“Madeline's House has appealed both to the local and federal governments for an adjustment of a mere 500 feet to the footprint of this project that would except the shelter from demolition,” Madeline's House Executive Director Emily Marshall told The Herald.

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Or for use of another building nearby.

“Both appeals have not met with any success, to date,” Ms. Marshall noted.

Madeline's House is a 33-bed safe house, offering a safe haven but also life-saving and life-changing services to the women and children it serves. It is the only such safe house in the counties of Buckingham, Cumberland, Prince Edward, Amelia, Brunswick, Charlotte, Dinwiddie, Halifax, Lunenburg, Mecklenburg, Nottoway and Powhatan.

Since opening in 1999, Madeline's House has provided life-saving shelter for 1,093 women and children, Ms. Marshall said Wednesday.

No eviction date has been set but if Madeline's House is forced to fundraise to acquire its own structure, Ms. Marshall estimates that cost will require “a major capital campaign with a minimum goal of $300,000.”

Ms. Marshall acknowledges that the demolition and clearing of the property, including the Madeline's House site, “may seem like a long time (off) but if Madeline's House has to raise enough money to replace the current shelter…this will take every minute of the estimated two years to accomplish.”

The FASTC is a major economic development success for Nottoway County and is expected to attract thousands of students for training each year.

“While this will be a big boost for the local economies, it comes with a dire cost to 12 counties in Southside Virginia who have come to rely on Madeline's House as part of their rescue infrastructure for victims of domestic and sexual abuse residing in this area,” Ms. Marshall explained.

“It is critical that Madeline's House finds a new home before our eviction date in order to avoid any lapse in services,” she stressed, “to these women and children.”

Madeline's House is calling on supporters to help in three ways:

First, contribute to a restricted fund that Madeline's House has established to cover any relocation or renovation costs not covered by the minimal assistance anticipated from the levels of government involved in this major project.

Secondly, join the shelter's letter-writing campaign to make targeted individuals and government officials aware that, as Madeline's House states, “critical services for victims of violence are being placed in jeopardy by the shelter's displacement” in hopes of gaining additional support “find and fund” a new home.

Those wishing to participate in the letter-writing campaign can call or email Madeline's House for a list of important names and addresses-(434-292-1077 or

Thirdly, anyone who knows of a potential new home for Madeline's House is asked to contact Ms. Marshall at 434-292-1077.

Madeline's House believes that “the biggest challenge is the lack of financial resources needed to fund the costs of relocation. The vast majority of financial resources available to the shelter are restricted for program costs (state grants). Operating costs are funded primarily by smaller individual and community group donations,” a Madeline's House press release states. “The federal government will provide limited relocation assistance, but not enough to meet the extraordinary costs of renovating a comparable location that will meet the specific needs of the women and children we serve.”

Nottoway County is Madeline's House's landlord, Ms. Marshall notes, and is selling the 1,500-plus acres at Fort Pickett for the FASTC project.

In a predominately rural area, the shelter's press release states, “the options open to Madeline's House are expected to be limited.”