New Emergency Shelter for Domestic Violence Survivors Hosts Open House

Members of the public attend an open house at the Eastern Shore Coalition Against Domestic Violence's new campus in Onancock on Tuesday, June 21. Photo by Carol Vaughn.

By Carol Vaughn — Members of the public got a chance to see inside a new emergency shelter for domestic violence survivors during an open house Tuesday at the Eastern Shore Coalition Against Domestic Violence campus in Onancock.

A $1.7 million capital campaign to raise funds to renovate three buildings on the five-acre campus, formerly the G.F. Horne Assisted Living Community, has reached the halfway mark, according to Sarah Barban, ESCADV director of fund development and community relations.

$879,589 has been raised to date, including a recent grant award of $40,000.

A donation by David Landsberger made purchase of the property possible.

The organization provides emergency shelter, a 24-hour hotline, child services, case management, legal advocacy, accompaniment during hospital visits and court cases, support groups, and individual counseling, among other services it offers survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.

The new shelter will accommodate 30 people and includes private rooms with attached bedrooms, a communal kitchen, a recreation room, laundry facilities, gardens, and a playgound.

Security measures will include 24-7 staffing, security fencing, and locked gates, including for the parking area, among other measures.

Among highlights of the open house was a mural, painted in a hallway by members of the Eastern Shore Art League, which depicts a peaceful Eastern Shore landscape.

A mural created by members of the Eastern Shore Art League decorates a hallway in the Eastern Shore Coalitiona Against Domestic Violence shelter in Onancock. ESCADV held an open house Tuesday, June 21, to allow the public to view progress on renovations of the building. The mural also includes small, detachable paintings, which domestic violence survivors may take with them when they leave the shelter. Photo by Carol Vaughn.

Smaller paintings hanging on the mural are meant to be taken by survivors when they leave the shelter.

“When a piece is taken it will be replaced so that survivors can continue to take art with them as they transition to new homes,” Barban said.

ESCADV also conducted tours of the facility last week for area law enforcement officers and other first responders.

ESCADV executive director Shelley Strain, in a recent edition of ESCADV’s newsletter, credited volunteers with playing a key part in the renovation effort.

“As many of you know, we are working fast and furious to complete our new shelter, Hope Harbor, by early July. As I reflect on the past nine months of this journey, I keep coming back to how important volunteers are to us in every possible way. ESCADV is blessed to have volunteers that have stepped into most key roles of the project, including project management, landscaping, building clean up, moving furniture, sorting donations, fundraising, and many other roles. I can’t say thank you often enough to reflect the value and hard work of our amazing volunteers.”

Anyone interested in learning about volunteer opportunities may contact Jon Bulin, volunteer and outreach coordinator, at [email protected]

Among volunteers are members of Eastern Shore garden clubs. They have contributed financially as well as working at the site.

Garden club members recently began planting the front beds around both the office building and the donation center.

This spring, they also planted trees on the property, which will provide shade and beautiful fall colors.

Garden club members also are working to acquire playground equipment and have gotten bags of rubber mulch for a play area for children staying at the shelter.

Additionally, Accomack-Northampton Electric Cooperative and the Eastern Shore Master Gardeners have helped with the project.

Information about the capital campaign is at

Donations by check, with Captial Campaign in the memo line, may be sent to ESCADV at P.O. Box 3, Onancock,VA 23417.

ESCADV also has a GoFundMe, which can be found on ESCADV’s Facebook page or by searching Eastern Shore Coalition Against Domestic Violence on

ESCADV also has an Amazon wishlist of items needed for the shelter, which can be found on ESCADV’s Facebook page.

ESCADV staff are currently working out of 130 Market Street. Any donations need to be taken there until further notice.

The best phone number to contact ESCADV is 757-787-1329.

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