Flooding closes Johnston County sex assault, domestic violence shelter; Victims displaced

SMITHFIELD, N.C. (WNCN) – A recently-opened shelter for domestic violence and sexual assault victims in Johnston County has been forced to close following flooding during Hurricane Matthew.

The SECU Harbor House in Smithfield was opened only four months before Hurricane Matthew brought heavy rains and flooding to central and eastern North Carolina.

Flooding caused those staying at the shelter to evacuate. More than 50 people have stayed at Harbor House since it opened. The shelter can house up to 28 people at a time. Victims usually stay up to six weeks at the shelter.

Those who had to be evacuated are now without a safe place to stay in Johnston County.

The building was badly damaged and will require at least two months of renovations before it can open back up.

Saturday at 8 a.m. at Smithfield Community Park is Harbor House’s “Walk the Park in Her Shoes” fundraiser. Shelter staff said the fundraiser couldn’t have come at a better time.

The people who were staying in the shelter have been moved to other shelters, some out of state.

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