Johnston County domestic violence shelter still drying out from Matthew

SMITHFIELD, N.C. (WNCN) – Men are putting on high heels this weekend to help a Johnston County domestic violence shelter damaged by Hurricane Matthew.

They’re fundraising for the Harbor House in Smithfield, which took a big hit from Matthew.

“I was overwhelmed, very much so, I wasn’t expecting the damage that we had received here,” said Kay Johnson.

Harbor House opened its new shelter four months to the day before Matthew hit the U.S.

It’s been a safe space for more than 50 abuse victims since June, but the 14 people receiving shelter here two weeks ago had to evacuate from flooding.

“It’s traumatic when families have to leave their home, but it’s traumatic when they have to leave their home a second time such as a disaster such as the hurricane,” Johnson said.

Harbor House found spaces for nearly a dozen victims at domestic violence shelters in other counties.

But a few are staying at Harbor House’s former offices.

“It has been challenging because we moved back with no furniture, no amenities within our old shelter,” Johnson said.

She said the community provided food and some comfort — but the shelter is ready to get back to the permanent location.

Each of the seven bedrooms at Harbor House has space to house up to four members of a family,

But everything right now is bagged up and drying out.

They hope to return by the end of the year and expect their annual fundraiser this weekend to help.

Men will wear high heels in the “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” walk and 5k.

“What better time to bring awareness to domestic violence, but to also give the community an opportunity to continue fundraising efforts,” Johnson said.

The walk starts at 8 a.m. at Smithfield Community Park.

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