Anna Marie's Alliance

ST. CLOUD -- Anna Marie's Alliance in St. Cloud is in the planning stage of expanding their shelter to better provide a comfortable and safe environment for women and children involved in domestic violence.

Executive Director Charles Hempeck says the expansion calls for more "apartment-style" rooms, offering each resident their own bedroom, living room and kitchen.

Hempeck says another entrance would be built as part of the expansion -- the current set up has one entrance shared by residents and the general public.

"That compromises the confidentiality of the women and children who stay here," Hempeck says. "We're looking at [separating] that to make sure women feel like their safety and confidentiality are protected as well as being welcoming to the public."

The shelter serves around 450 women and children per year, along with serving between 1,800 and 2,000 others in crisis who don't stay. Hempeck says the expansion would bring more rooms and spaces for training and prevention seminars.

"We're in the planning stages, but sometime in 2018 we'd like to have the bulk of it completed," Hempeck says. "It'd be nice to have the expansion done [in time to] celebrate the 40 years of Anna Marie's Alliance providing services to victims of domestic violence in central Minnesota."

Hempeck says they're applying for additional state funding to go along with private fundraising to pay for the expansion. He says anyone who wants to donate can do so by going to their website or by calling Sandy at (320) 251-7203.