A local couple has set out to raise money for a shelter in Stephenville that will house women and their children fleeing from domestic violence.

Les and Jeannette Maxwell are working to build the city’s first-ever shelter and they are hoping the public will get behind the effort.

“Family violence is one of those social blemishes we don’t hear much about and the general public is unaware of the staggering numbers of cases that, according to state and local agencies, are on the increase every year,” Les wrote in an email to the E-T. “Domestic violence and abuse are occurring right here in our great community.”

The Maxwells have founded Restoration Advocates, Inc. and are launching a public awareness and capital campaign to raise money to buy land and build a facility, which will be aptly named Restoration Place.

Jeannette has worked in women’s ministry for the past 20 years and said she has seen first-hand the need for a local safe haven for women.

“Women who need help now are being taken to another town,” she said.

The group has formed a board of directors and is working with local agencies like Cross Timbers Family Services to get the word out.

“We are confident that many residents, organizations and business leaders across our community will be supportive of this initiative and will want to donate,” Les said. “A representative will be available to come and make a presentation at any church, civic club or organization.”

The group’s first phase goal is to raise $200,000.

Jeannette said they hope to build or purchase apartments or duplexes where families can have their own living space.

“We would like for each family to have their own private space - kitchen, living room and bedrooms - so they can maintain the family dynamic,” she said.

For more information, email restorationadvocates@yahoo.com or visit Restoration Advocates on Facebook.

Donations can be made to:

Restoration Advocates, Inc.

P.O. Box 961

Stephenville, TX  76401