Only six counties in New York state are without an emergency shelter for victims of domestic violence and abuse.

Three of them are local ones: Ontario, Seneca and Yates.

That number will go down by one in 2020 when a shelter opens in an undisclosed location in Seneca County, operated by Safe Harbors of the Finger Lakes.

“Safe Harbors has received a $300,000 state grant, secured by State Senator Pam Helming, to cover the cost of a shelter in Seneca County,” said Marisa Rubé, executive director of Safe Harbors, based in Geneva. “We are continuing our fundraising, but we are at the point with the state grant where we believe can start construction or rehabilitation in six months and be open in 2020.”

She said whether the shelter will be a new building or rehabilitation of an existing building hasn’t been determined.

“We’d like shelters in Ontario, Seneca and Yates counties some day, but for now, this Seneca County shelter will serve all three counties. There was a lot of community support for the Seneca County shelter,” Rubé said.

It will be the first shelter in the four-county Finger Lakes area to be run by Safe Harbors. Currently, domestic violence victims needing emergency shelter are referred by Safe Harbors to shelters outside the four-county area.

Rubé said people wanting to contribute to the Seneca County shelter project can contact Safe Harbors at (315) 781-1093 or visit the Safe Harbors website and donate online. Safe Harbors also will have its second annual fundraising gala Sept. 27, with all proceeds going to the shelter project.

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