The Bridge to Hope celebrates new facility

MENOMONIE, Wis. (WEAU) -- Since 1982, The Bridge to Hope has been helping victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, and human trafficking in Dunn and Pepin counties.

But recently the demand for the shelter has outgrown its abilities until a recently finished capital campaign helped the shelter move from three bedrooms to nine.

The Bridge to Hope is a place to get away and get help for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence.

"Domestic violence effects every community, every workplace, every school. And when someone is fleeing, if they have no place to go I mean they'll stay in a really violent, abusive situation and that's also why we accept pets because some people won't leave their pets behind because they know they'll suffer," said Executive Director Naomi Cummings.

From 1998 to 2017, The Bridge to Hope was located at a three bedroom home in Menomonie.

Two years ago they bought, and moved, into a much larger facility across town.

"Everybody has their own room, we only put one family per room so they have their own space. There's two wings, so there's two separate washers and dryers. Two different kitchens, we have five bathrooms back there," said Director of Sexual Assault Victim Services Angie McIlquham.

Nine bedrooms, office spaces, and now handicap accessibility is allowing The Bridge to Hope to help many more.

But the move wouldn't have been possible without the support of the community.

"It's really heartwarming that the community comes forward. It's really obvious that there's a lot of caring people here in Menomonie," said Cummings.

A $750,000 capital campaign was just completed, letting The Bridge to Hope pay off the new building.

Letting staff like McIlquham focus on just working with victims.

"The most valuable experience I get is seeing clients that are coming back like two years later and doing wonderful. They have an apartment, a job, they've been away. They've really started healing and you watch their kids grow and heal," she said.

Thanks to the community, those success stories are going to happen more often now.

The 24 hour hotline is 1-800-924-9918, and the texting hotline is 715-505-3640.