Ellie Truan, shelter director for the crisis center, said all 14 clients and four staff members were safely evacuated, and no injuries were reported. Shelter clients have been placed in other area shelters and safe locations, she said.
In addition to damage done to the building, Truan said donations that were stored in an upper level of the building likely have smoke damage.
Following the emergency, new CCCC CEO Julie Strentzsch said the community has come together to meet the organization’s needs through physical and cash donations.
“We’ve got places to store stuff so that we can keep what people have donated to us. ... We have volunteers coming in to hygiene bags this weekend,” she said. “There isn’t anything that we have asked for that [the community] haven’t helped us with.”
While staff and insurance personnel are still assessing the ultimate cost of the damages and needed repairs for the building, Strentzsch said it is likely the shelter will not be able to resume use of the facility for approximately one year.
CCCC staff is working to find a space where they can safely and securely house clients until they can move back into their building, but Strentzsch said it has been difficult to find a location due to the high demand for rental space in the city.
“We probably have a safe temporary location for the month of May,” she said. “We’re in the process of trying to figure out where to go from there.”
The organization has not stopped any of its regular operations and is still accepting new clients, operating the crisis hotline, offering counseling services and more. Though some operations will look different, Strentzch said the staff is committed to continuing to serve the community.
“We are adapting our service delivery is the best thing I can say, so we can meet the needs of our clients,” she said. “What it looks like in the short term and what it will look like in the long term depends on where we can find our next space.”
The crisis center was founded in 1986 as a women’s center before expanding in 2000 to become a nine-bedroom full-service emergency shelter, according to the organization.
To date the organization has served more than 1,500 individuals and provided counseling services, crisis response calls, prevention education and more.
Strentzch said as the needs of the organization change, her staff will continue to keep the community updated regarding what is most needed.
Those wishing to make donations can drop them off at the CCCC administration center located at 1528 E. Common St. from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. on weekdays. Monetary donations can be made via http://paypal.me/ccccnbtx or through the organization’s website.
On May 22, Gruene Hall will partner with KNBT 92.1 FM to host the 24th annual Americana Music Jam: Acoustic Edition, and proceeds will benefit the Crisis Center of Comal County and the Hill Country Youth Orchestra.
“This is a marathon, [and] we are going to rebuild and we're committed to this work and keeping survivors safe. And we're gonna do what it takes to get there,” Strentzch said. “We just need everyone to help us along the way.”