By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support local journalism.
No One Alone envisions new shelter to serve victims of domestic violence
No One Alone Shelter
This is No One Alone’s current shelter in Lumpkin County. The new shelter will also be located in that county. Photo submitted to DCN.

For Dawson County victims of family violence, local nonprofit organization No One Alone is the only program of its kind. 

The nonprofit serves Dawson and Lumpkin counties. NOA’s 24/7 crisis line can be reached at 706-864-1986.

The crisis line was started in 1986. Its shelter, which was started in 1992, is state certified by the Governor’s Office for Children and Families and has a maximum capacity of 12 beds.

“NOA has been fortunate in that our current shelter is graciously donated by the Lumpkin County Board of Commissioners,” NOA Executive Director Cara Ledford wrote in an open letter. “While we are very thankful to have had this facility to call our shelter for over 20 years, we are bursting at the seams as this shelter is a very small house with three bedrooms and two bathrooms to share between 12 women and children.”

Ledford said NOA envisions an “inviting shelter” with separate rooms for single women and women with children, as well as dedicated spaces for counseling and children’s, life skills and parenting programming. 

NOA saw an increased need between Dawson and Lumpkin counties, providing emergency and support services to over 1,700 people in 2021, according to the nonprofit’s statistics report.

That’s up from the usual amount of 1,200 or so, said Ledford. 

She called the pandemic’s impact “detrimental” to people stuck at home, particularly “kids stuck at home with their abusers.”

The shelter housed 102 people for a total of 3,100 bed nights, an average stay of 60 days per guest. Thirty victims were housed in hotels due to lack of space.

Over the course of last year, NOA advocates responded to 3,289 calls to its crisis line. Ledford also explained that with the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, NOA helped people out financially, for a total of $194,919 in client aid. 

In addition to the crisis line and shelter, the nonprofit offers services including individual and group counseling, case management, legal advocacy, children’s programs and play therapy, home visits, financial assistance, parenting classes and school prevention programs, according to their website. 

Likewise, NOA’s bargain shop, Southern Finds in Dahlonega, provided direct client assistance of furniture, clothing and household items to 287 “at-risk” families. 

“Truly to me, it [NOA] is vital because we’re the only one that does this,” Ledford said.

In order to better serve the needs of clients in both counties, NOA has purchased land for a new shelter and started a capital campaign to collect funds for the project.

During her interview with DCN, Ledford said NOA “really needs the community's support” and challenged people to donate regularly.

“It’s about getting people to join and be the change,” she said. “If everybody gives $5 or $10, we would be set.” 

NOA will host a “Beef and Pork BBQ Blast” fundraiser July 23 from 4:30-7:30 p.m. at the Lumpkin County Parks and Recreation, located at 365 Riley Road. The event is sponsored by the Lumpkin County Sheriff’s Office. More details are available at https://noonealone.org/bbq/.

For more information about how you can support NOA, please visit www.noonealone.org under the “I Want to Help” tab. Community members have various options to contribute ranging from donating money and necessities to donating their time with the organization.
Magazines