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Merryman House receives over $400k in grant funding

Merryman House, a nonprofit domestic violence crisis center in Paducah, is receiving over $400,000 in federal grant funds to serve survivors of domestic abuse.

Mary Foley, Merryman House’s executive director, said this funding will help support the group’s housing stabilization, economic support and empowerment programs that help survivors escape abusive relationships.

“Domestic violence really does have far reaching effects. And so we can come in in a comprehensive way through grants like this one just awarded – and through other programs that we offer – to really wrap the survivor in services,” Foley said. “Whether those be emergent or acute or long term goals that they have, we can assist them so that they are breaking that cycle of violence so that they can live and thrive.”

Foley said that survivors of domestic violence can face a variety of barriers when leaving abusive situations. To help them overcome those, the nonprofit provides services such as emergency shelter, transitional housing, rent subsidies, utility assistance, legal aid, medical referrals, counseling services and employment assistance.

“We don't want their life just saved and rebuilt. We want to change,” she said. “We want them to have to thrive. And sometimes that thriving looks like making sure that they are stably housed, making sure that they have groceries, making sure that their kids are seeing proper providers to recover from what they've been through.”

In Kentucky, over 45% of women and more than 35% of men have experienced contact sexual violence, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner at some point during their lives.

Merryman House served over 800 men, women and children in 2022. The organization is one of 15 regional domestic violence programs in Kentucky, and is the state-designated program for the Purchase Area counties. In addition to serving the Commonwealth’s eight westernmost counties, Foley said Merryman House also works with ZeroV – a state coalition of programs supporting domestic violence survivors – to assist survivors who may need to be relocated from other parts of Kentucky.

The grant funds come from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women, which also awarded grant funds to ZeroV and the Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault Programs to support shelters across Kentucky.

Hannah Saad is the Assistant News Director for WKMS. Originally from Michigan, Hannah earned her bachelor’s degree in news media from The University of Alabama in 2021. Hannah moved to western Kentucky in the summer of 2021 to start the next chapter of her life after graduation. Prior to joining WKMS in March 2023, Hannah was a news reporter at The Paducah Sun. Her goal at WKMS is to share the stories of the region from those who call it home. Outside of work, Hannah enjoys exploring local restaurants, sports photography, painting, and spending time with her fiancé and two dogs.
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