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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A leaky roof at the Center for Women and Families is creating a million-dollar mess.
The Center provides a safe haven for victims of domestic abuse or sexual violence, but residents say brown water dripping down walls and staining ceiling tiles is threatening their health.
An abnormally wet winter has revealed the severity of the problem -- residents of the shelter use buckets to collect leaks and towels to clean up the mess.
As the Center works to secure a temporary facility while they fix the problems, officials assure the building is safe.
"We had the air tested, we had the building looked for structural damage, and the building is structurally safe," said President and CEO Marta Miranda.
"But, we won't be able to serve new clients, and the clients that are here will be inconvenienced during renovations."
With repairs set to begin as soon as the weather dries up, the Center is working to move shelter residents somewhere else.
"We have been working to find a permanent temporary space," said Miranda. "It's [the weather] is going to get worse, and we don't want to be here when it's worse."
Miranda said they are close to signing a lease on a temporary facility. She said they will move all 75 temporary residents and client services to that building for six to eight months.
Due to safety concerns, WDRB cameras are not allowed to see where the women and children live. But pictures sent to us by shelter residents show wet floors, missing ceiling tiles and even what appears to be rain in an indoor common area.
"The ceilings literally are caving in," said one woman. "They give us buckets. The water is not clear, it's brown."
The woman has been living at the shelter since escaping a domestic violence situation. For her own safety we won't use her name.
"Three people are sick. And they are sick from the mold," she said. "They went to their doctors and their doctors confirmed that is what's going on."
She says employees aren't telling them much about the upcoming move, and it has many of them worried.
"They told us, if you have somewhere safe to go, go there," she said. "If we had somewhere safe to go, we never would have come to you all for help."
Officials said that simply isn't true.
"No one is going to be exited because we have issues," said Miranda.
Miranda says they can't tell the women where they will be relocated, in order to protect them from their abusers.
"Due to safety reasons, we are not communicating where we are moving our clients. Our clients are not safe," said Miranda.
The Center has even found a way to turn necessary repairs into renovation, as it looks to raise money for a remodel of the residential area.
"This challenge has become an opportunity to really make a commitment to re-envision the building," said Miranda.
She hopes the plans will include more community space for residents, as well as private areas. Right now, Miranda says, the old hotel is not built for trauma treatment and they would like to change that with this remodel.
With a $3 million price tag on the project, including the $1.2 million for roof repairs, the remodel is not funded yet.
The Center still needs about $2 million to fund the renovation project. If you would like to donate, click here.