Repres-entatives from the hospital, Women’s Center-Youth & Family Services, the city of Tracy and San Joaquin County gathered on the front lawn of the hospital Wednesday, Feb. 27, to present a check to Joelle Gomez, the center’s chief executive officer.
The donation provides a third of the money needed to purchase a building for a new emergency housing shelter to serve south San Joaquin County.
The previous emergency shelter — Tracy Refuge for Education and Empowerment, known as the T.R.E.E. house — closed Wednesday after nine years.
Gomez said the T.R.E.E. house opened in spring 2004 and helped more than 450 women and their children.
The addresses of women’s center emergency shelters are kept secret. A second shelter, in Stockton, remains open.
The Tracy shelter — a two-bedroom, one-bathroom house with eight beds — housed an average of 70 women and children annually from communities as far away as Ripon. Women and children could stay there up to 60 days.
No one had stayed at the shelter since January, however, and the staff finished moving out furnishings Wednesday, Gomez said.
The age of the building — originally donated by the Tracy Hospital Foundation — had resulted in dry rot, roof trouble and other problems that would have cost the women’s center too much to resolve.
Instead, the house has been given back to the hospital, she said, and the women’s center is trying to collect $300,000 to buy a replacement.
“The Tracy closure leaves a tremendous gap,” Gomez said. “We need to get the new home up by fall. We want a home with a larger capacity — the need is there.”
CEO Dave Thompson of Sutter Tracy Community Hospital said the needed repairs and maintenance would have cost more than the value of the house, and the hospital decided to give the women’s center seed money for the purchase of another house.
The former shelter will eventually be leveled, according to Katie Kidder, hospital marketing and communications manager.
Thompson said the hospital had a long partnership with the women’s center and wanted the victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse to have a safe haven in Tracy.
“If our patients aren’t safe in the community, it doesn’t matter if they are safe in the hospital,” Thompson said. “We want them to be safe and healed and back in the community as soon as possible.”
While the women’s center raises funds for a new Tracy shelter, women and children in need of emergency shelter will be taken to the Directions for Abused Women in Need shelter in Stockton, called D.A.W.N. house, which has room for 42 people. Transportation would be provided, Gomez said.
The women’s center hopes to raise $300,000 to purchase a house in Tracy for a new shelter.
Gomez said the house would ideally have three or four bedrooms and two bathrooms, providing space for 12 people, which she said would be a big improvement over the eight-bed previous shelter.
The hospital donation and a 2013-14 federal Community Development Block Grant for $50,000 from the city of Tracy make the women’s center halfway to their goal.
Gomez said an application for a $50,000 county-level Community Development Block Grant is pending, but the women’s center needs the help of the community to raise the rest of the money — about $100,000.
She said donations of appliances and housewares for the shelter and services, including gardening, are also needed.
Women who need help from the women’s center can go to 35 E. 10th St. from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday or call the office, 833-0300, or the crisis line, 465-4878. Collect calls are accepted.
• Contact Glenn Moore at 830-4252 or email@example.com.