The Fayetteville City Council has denied a zoning permit that would have allowed a resident to run a shelter for victims of domestic violence out of her home.
Joanne Baker requested to turn a small rental property into a house that would have allowed up to three women and nine children to stay for 90 days. But several council members said they were concerned about Baker’s preparation, because it was not clear how she would connect victims to groups that offer career services or childcare.
At this week’s meeting, councilmember Larry Wright echoed those concerns, but voted in favor of the home, citing rising rates of domestic violence.
“Those percentages are going up, so these ladies are starting a domestic violence home. Of course, we know there is a need, and sometimes we overlook those needs based on the silence,” Wright said.
Also at the meeting, one other resident said he was concerned about safety if domestic violence perpetrators were to come looking for their victims. And several city council members, including Bill Crisp, suggested Baker was not ready to open the home, because it wasn’t clear how victims would be connected to career and housing services.
“That’s my concern,” Crisp said. “You say they’re coming from other shelters, so they come and stay 90 days, you say they have to go, and where do they go? That’s my concern. I don’t want them to go on the street.”
The request was struck down by a 6-4 vote. But Baker is allowed to reapply for the special use permit.