JAMESTOWN – Congressman Tom Reed (R-Corning, NY 23)was in Jamestown Friday to meet with representatives from the Salvation Army Anew Center at the Salvation Army of Jamestown.
Reed, who represents Jamestown as part of the state’s 23rd congressional district, said he was there to learn more about the Anew Center’s services for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, Adding that he plans to use what he learned to help identify ways to increase support for services aimed at helping the victims.
“We want to hear from the front line, from these individuals, what we can be doing as policy makers to provide those services that are in so much demand here,” Reed said. “We wish it wasn’t in so much demand but clearly there is a demand and need and we want to have that priority conversation and make sure we’re doing our best to see it gets the attention that it deserves.”
During his visit Reed toured with Anew Center, which provides short-term housing and care for victims of sexual assault or domestic violence. He also talked with Anew Center staff so he could get specific details on what could be done to improve services.
According to Anew Center officials, the current shelter – which is located at a confidential location in Jamestown to protect victims and give them privacy – has 13 beds, a bathroom and shower, a kitchen and common room for victims. They say that on average, the shelter assists an estimated 200 people each year. They hope to either upgrade the current shelter or relocate to one that provides better access to handicapped individuals.
“It’s very important to have this talk – to be able to visit and have a dialogue with Congressman Reed and to let him know exactly what we’re going through here,” said Captain John Merchant, who oversees all operations and services at the Jamestown Salvation Army.
Reed said the issue of sexual assault is a personal one for him and his family. In March 2014 he made a speech on the House floor to talk about the importance of addressing the issue, noting that his niece was the victim of a sexual assault.
The Anew Center has a 24-hour hotline, which receives more than 4,000 calls a year. The number is 1-800-252-8748 or 661-3897.