The opening of Delaware County's first shelter for domestic-violence victims, originally expected in September, has been moved to mid-December.

"We were close, but no cigar," said Turning Point Executive Director Paula Roller.

Turning Point is a Marion-based nonprofit that aids victims of domestic violence in six counties, including Delaware.

When it opens at 500 N. Liberty St., the shelter will have 13 bedrooms, each capable of holding four people, for a capacity of 52 at any given time. People will move in and out of the shelter depending on their needs, Roller said.

"Projects always take longer than you like," she said. "That's just the way it is. We're moving right along. The timing is not what I would have wanted. At this point, we just want it done."

The shelter will have two buildings: One, Roller said, is virtually done; the other is about three weeks behind. Appliances for the shelter's five kitchens have been delivered and office furniture should arrive in a month, she said.

Roller said she "can't say enough good things" about Delaware's building officials who have worked with Turning Point on the shelter's plans and change orders.

One reason to hope the shelter is ready before the holidays is the fact Turning Point will rely on many volunteers to help get everything ready, she said.

"We're counting on having them step in. It could be difficult at Christmastime," she said.

Delays notwithstanding, Roller said the shelter is "absolutely beautiful. I'm so proud of it. I love it so much."

The shelter's $3.2 million cost is being covered by a fundraising campaign. Roller said $3.15 million has been raised or pledged to date.

The fundraising hit a speed bump late last year when vandals broke into the site and smashed more than 20 windows, some of which were awaiting installation.

Roller said at the time the $6,000 in damages would not delay the project.

Barb Lyon, United Way of Delaware County vice president, said the organization has played a role in the fundraising effort.

United Way usually does not take on capital campaigns, but believes Delaware has a strong need for the shelter, she said.

Delaware County Sheriff Russell Martin previously said domestic violence is the second-most reported offense for most police agencies in the county.

"Our women's leadership network raised more than $400,000," Lyon said. "United Way President Brandon Feller and myself served on the capital campaign committee."

United Way worked with major donors and helped raise awareness about the shelter's importance, she said.

Lyon and Roller said a significant role has been played by the late Bill Cornely and his wife, Shirley.

Cornely, who died in 2017, had a career in development and real estate and served on the United Way board of directors.

He helped spearhead the shelter project from its inception, Lyon said. The family has made significant contributions throughout the campaign and encouraged other donors to get involved, she added.

"We look forward to (the family) staying on as advocates and volunteers as the (shelter's) doors open," Lyon said.

Roller earlier said the shelter is designed not only to protect clients, but also to help them achieve independence.

The shelter can give clients time to earn money and gain independence, to attend or complete school, or for legal issues to be resolved.

"We serve men and women," Roller said. "We help the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. We help the disabled -- anyone affected by domestic violence."

All services will be free to shelter residents. Turning Point provides all food, plus clothing and personal items.

The shelter also will provide legal help and counseling, she said. It will assist its residents in developing goals and a safety plan and in finding jobs and housing.

Security will be a priority at the shelter, Roller said. It will be locked down with entry accessible only when monitored by aides.

The facility will sit on a 7.5-acre gated site. All doors and windows will have alarms. About 23 cameras outside the building will monitor the grounds.

Turning Point is a nonprofit organization; tax-deductible donations can be made at turningpoint6.org.

Donations also can be mailed to Turning Point, PO Box 875, Marion 43301-0875.

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