Oasis A Safe Haven opens for first time since 2020 hurricane

Published 2:12 pm Tuesday, May 7, 2024

The shelter at Oasis A Safe Haven has officially reopened its doors. On Tuesday, Oasis held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the reopening of the renovated facilities.

Oasis is a Lake Charles-based domestic and sexual violence non-profit agency that has served Southwest Louisiana since 1979. In 2020, Hurricane Laura gutted the facilities, forcing the shelter to close for nearly four years. While Oasis could still provide programming and services to victims, it could not house them in a safe place nearby.

Oasis Executive Director Kathy Manuel told the American Press the reopened shelter will provide critical resources for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence victims while keeping them close to home.

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“The need is great in the community, and to be able to house them now instead of having to put them in a hotel where they’re not getting as many services … just to be able to keep them here is a relief.”

Oasis Board President and CPSO Enforcement Commander Gene Pittman echoed this and said Oasis’ services assist CPSO.

“You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone, and what a huge hole this left in our community. Particularly for us in law enforcement, when you don’t have somewhere to house the victim. The facilities and resources we normally have just weren’t open and available to us.”

Manuel said the high attendance at the event was “exciting and humbling.”

“It really showed us the support we do have in this community.”

The shelter received plenty of support from local industry and business partners, such as LyondellBasell Lake Charles, Phillips 66, Westlake Chemical, Delta Downs and Lowe’s. Collectively, the entities donated financial support and supplies for the shelter like comforters, towels, beds, mattresses and mattress covers.

Oasis is always accepting financial donations. Manuel said they will be sending out a “needs list” soon, but the shelter is currently in the process of replenishing their donation garage. Currently, they especially need clothing — pajamas, nightgowns, undergarments — toiletries and cleaning supplies.

Oasis will begin housing survivors and their families on Monday, May 13.

To learn more about Oasis, visit oasisasafehaven.org.