By Conrad Dudderar
Senior Staff Writer
EL RENO – A trust overseeing Canadian County’s new domestic violence center has signed a lease with the county commissioners to occupy its new home.
The commissioners, at their Dec. 21st meeting, approved a real estate and leasing services agreement starting Jan. 1, 2021 with Cardinal Point Public Trust.
Cardinal Point is getting ready to occupy a 5,000 square foot space inside the Canadian County Children’s Justice Center (CCCJC), 7905 E Hwy 66.
The Cardinal Point trust is leasing 2,100 square feet of new construction for $1,575 per month, equal to $18,900 annually. It is a one-year lease with two optional years.
For grant purposes, the CCCJC is donating the rest of the space, that previously was used for an adolescent substance abuse home.
“They’ve been a great partner donating that space that we were able to renovate,” Assistant District Attorney Tommy Humphries said.
Now that the lease has been approved, Director Kristie Chandler said, “we plan to get Cardinal Point staff moved and operating first in the space and then move on-site partner agencies in.”
Canadian County will have Oklahoma’s fourth family justice center to help survivors of domestic abuse, child abuse, sexual assault, and stalking.
Director Chandler and her staff will work with resource partners offering programs to serve Canadian County domestic violence survivors.
“Ultimately, we’d like to have a welcoming, safe place – one place – where adult and child victims can go when they are hurting because of experiencing a crime like domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, and stalking,” Chandler said.
The opening of Cardinal Point has been tied to the CCCJC receiving a certificate of occupancy from the state fire marshal’s office once the facility’s construction project is finished.
Cardinal Point will be a centralized place where domestic violence survivors can choose from various services to help them.
The center will foster a community of support for domestic violence survivors, reduce or eliminate the trauma associated with victims’ involvement with law enforcement and the criminal justice system, and better hold offenders accountable.
County commissioners dedicated $144,195 in the county’s FY20-21 general fund budget as “seed money” for Cardinal Point to help launch the domestic violence center.
The District Attorney’s Office applied for and was awarded a Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) federal grant totaling $213,229 to help with operations.
“We are in the process now of transferring that grant from the District Attorney’s Office to the Cardinal Point Public Trust,” Chandler explained.
The Cardinal Point trust needs to cover rent, salaries, equipment, technology, and supplies to provide survivor services.
Board members of Cardinal Point’s trust are: District Attorney Mike Fields, Canadian County Undersheriff Kevin Ward, District 2 County Commissioner Dave Anderson, Jacqueline Steyn, and Heidi Oliver.