An old Fresno motel is now a new safe haven for at-risk women and children. The Rescue the Children shelter recently opened it's doors .
The shelter has been in the works for nearly two years. It's taken milliosn of dollars in grants and donations to get it up and running. It's also the only shelter of it's kind in Fresno County, where families have up to one year to get back on their feet.
It was a time in Candelaria Perez's life she never wants to re-live.
Perez says, "I went through a lot of domestic violence with my kids father." "It took me down, it took me really down to a place where I would not anyone to go."
The 36-year-old mother was battered, addicted to drugs and eventually became homeless. She now has a place to call home and a chance to turn things around.
"It was amazing to know that you can have a good nights sleep and you will have food on your table, and that you're surrounded by other sisters here that love us. It's something that I have never felt in my life before."
13 women and 7 children recently moved into the Rescue the Children shelter.
The Fresno Rescue Mission also helped Sandra Perez get on the right path.
The volunteer says, "Where we're standing right now used to be a motel and this where I used to hang out and do drugs and stuff. You name it, that's what we did here."
That's in the past now. The old Vagabond Inn Motel has since been transformed into a safe haven. The Fresno Rescue Mission bought the motel about two years ago.
The shelter will be home to 75 women and 100 children at a time. The women also take part in daily classes, where they learn tools to take with them with they leave.
Deborah Torres, director of women and children's services says, "To continue to have a future, to be contributing members of society. This is so important for our community for the women and children of Fresno County to offer them a place of hope, a refuge from the storms of their lives."
Perez doesn't like to think about where she would be without this support.
"I would have went back and accepted a life of torment and died in a life of torment."
Instead, she's getting her life back.
The shelter will start housing it's next batch of women and children by December. It's open to those living in a bad situation, but residents will have to go through an interview process before they are accepted.
You can find contact information for the Rescue the Children shelter by clicking the "News Link" tab above.