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Unique Support Center For Abuse Victims Needs Your Help To Reopen

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A center that helped hundreds of victims of domestic and sexual abuse in Los Angeles is reaching out to the public for help in recovering from rain damage.

Van Nuys' Strength United Family Justice Center opened just six months ago, and was the most comprehensive resource of free services for victims of abuse in Los Angeles. However, the heavy rains that hit the Southland earlier this month unexpectedly caused severe damage to their building. "It was essentially like Niagra Falls," Sheri Strahl of the Family Justice Center told CBS 2, describing the rainwater falling through the ceiling. "It was a mess. It was a mess."

The Family Justice Center opened last year after a half-million dollars in donations, but suffered the recent setback when the rains damaged the building, furniture, and several computers. The 10,000 square foot facility is now mostly empty as crews try to repair the damage and get it reopen as soon as possible.

"It's tragic because the victims that would come here to receive services don't have a second location to resort to," said Detective Maria Mendoza of the LAPD. She says they are "hoping to have this facility up and running sooner rather than later."

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The Strength United Family Justice Center is located at 14651 Oxnard Street and operated through Cal State Northridge. Its partners include the LAPD, Dignity Health's Northridge Hospital, Neighborhood Legal Services, and Jewish Family Services. It is the only Family Justice Center in Los Angeles County, which is offers "efficient, effective, co-located, multidisciplinary services" in a model that the Department of Justice says is the best at combating domestic violence.

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