The Center for Family Justice is pleased to announce that it will receive $865,000 in federal budget funds to help it complete a new domestic violence transitional house, known as the Empower House, later this year.

These funds have been committed to CFJ through the assistance of U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, who worked with the Bridgeport-based nonprofit to help it create state-of-the-art transitional residence for an increasing number of clients impacted by domestic violence in the six local communities it serves.

Details of these federal funds and their impact on domestic violence victims in the region were detailed during a May 4 press conference at CFJ’s headquarters in Bridgeport. Himes was joined by Bridgeport Mayor Joseph Ganim at the announcement.

“Receiving these funds means we can provide more hope, safety and critically needed protection to hundreds of local adults and children who live in constant fear of domestic abuse,” said Debra A. Greenwood, President & CEO of The Center for Family Justice. “These federal budget dollars will help us cross the finish line to be able to build this new residence which we know will change and save lives. We are incredibly grateful to Congressman Himes for his partnership and advocacy on behalf of the thousands of victims we serve each year.”

“The measure of who we are as a community is how we protect the most vulnerable among us, and there are few who need our assistance, compassion, and protection more than women and children who are victims of domestic violence,” said Congressman Himes. “The Center for Family Justice provides a critical service, and I could not be more pleased that we were able to secure $865,000 to help them with this work.”

During a meeting with CFJ’s staff and Board of Directors on Wednesday, Himes elaborated his commitment to the Empower House project. “I’ve seen what you do here day-to-day and when this is done, we will hold it up as a national model for the way we support victims of domestic violence.”

CFJ has spent the last two years engaged in a $3.5 million capital campaign focused on construction of a new safe house which will replace its smaller, existing facility.

The campaign was launched in response to the increased demand for safe shelter CFJ experienced throughout the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. Since March of 2020 it has recorded a 25 percent increase in demand for domestic violence shelter and services from the residents of the six local communities it serves.

Located in a secure location in the city of Bridgeport, the new transitional residence will provide more room and more comfortable surroundings for up to 16 adults and children fleeing domestic violence situations.

The new 9,000 square foot transitional home will  feature:

  • Seven private family suites;
  • A commercial kitchen, plenty of bathrooms and comfortable living spaces;
  • State-of-the-art security systems;
  • A safe kennel for clients’ pets;
  • Indoor and outdoor play spaces for kids:
  • Counseling support rooms;
  • A computer self-learning library for adult clients and their children to complete work and school assignments;
  • Self-Sufficiency services;
  • A residence that is ADA compliant and fully accessible for clients with disabilities;
  • Energy-efficient features;
  • A wellness and meditation space.

Greenwood said current plans are for construction to begin at the Empower House later this spring, with an opening date tentatively scheduled for December 2022.