The Hays-Caldwell Women’s Center and the San Marcos Area Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon-cutting ceremony March 25 for the grand opening of Marla’s Place, a transitional housing facility named after the former HCWC Executive Director Marla Johnson.

The HCWC is a nonprofit that offers free and confidential services to victims of family or dating violence, sexual assault or child abuse, who live, work or attend school in either Hays or Caldwell counties.

The new facility is 22,000 square feet and will offer 12-18 months of safe and affordable housing for those escaping family violence.

Design for the project began in 2015, and the HCWC began raising the funds for the new complex in late 2016. The groundbreaking for the project was in August 2020.

Now completed, there are two one-bedroom, 12 three-bedroom and four four-bedroom apartments throughout the property.

“Early on in working at the center, we realized it was the larger families that were returning to abusive homes because they had no other options. Often, they didn’t have any family members that could accommodate [larger families] ... [the largest] apartment can accommodate seven family members,” said Elva Gonzalez, director of programs and services.

Marla’s Place will also offer tutoring for children and classes for adults, such as GED classes and budgeting training, to help individuals get back on their feet, Community Engagement Coordinator Veronica Medina said.

There are also Early Head Start Centers on-site that will provide child care and early childhood education, given that affordable child care is often a barrier in abusive situations.

Additionally, residents of Marla’s Place will have access to the HCWC’s counseling and advocacy services, and other resources to develop critical life skills, access to job training and more to help them gain stability and independence.

For safety reasons, Community Impact Newspaper will not be publishing the address of Marla’s Place.

512-396-4357 (24-hour helpline)., [email protected]