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The Friendship Center plans for future due to increasing numbers

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Posted at 9:59 AM, Apr 20, 2024

HELENA — The Friendship Center provides help and support to survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence. They recently released their 2023 impact report.

“We love to do the annual report every year to give everyone a snapshot of the clients that were serving and to work that were doing and the funding picture we have,” said Gina Boesdorfer, the Executive Director of the Friendship Center.

This year the organization served 722 known individuals.

Their 24/7 crisis line received about 1,800 calls.

The center also provided 150 adults and children with the equivalent of 8,500 nights of shelter.

These numbers are increases from previous years.

“Over the last serval years, we’ve seen our numbers start increasing again. We were increasing pretty significantly before the pandemic, and then now we’re seeing those numbers increase again,” Boesdorfer said.

The numbers are similar to the organization's pre-pandemic numbers.

“We have a 13-room shelter on-site and then we can also provide some limited off-site shelter assistance. We help people with the coordinating and navigating the legal systems. We do a lot with emotional support and education on the issues we provide. Some basic need support,” said Boesdorfer.

The Friendship Center is planning to grow its presence in the tri-county area, increasing its outreach to meet the need they see.

“We have recently purchased the original friendship center. We purchased it back in December. We’re in the middle of a capital campaign to continue raising all the funds for that purchase and in a couple years we're hoping to be able to move into that for office space so that we can serve more people in the community in that non-residential capacity,” Boesdorfer said.

The Friendship Center has been serving Helena since 1971.