VAN NUYS (CBSLA.com) — A brand-new facility that helps hundreds of victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse in the Southland is in need of help after serious flooding.
The 10,000-square-foot facility housing the Family Justice Center in Van Nuys opened six months ago after receiving more than $500,000 in donations.
But the heavy rain from a few weeks ago caused damage to the floors, walls and furniture, as well as several computers.
Detective Maria Mendoza with the Los Angeles Police Department says the facility is the only one in Los Angeles County that offers free, comprehensive services under one roof to victims of domestic and sexual abuse.
She now worries about the hundreds of mainly women and children now forced to scramble.
“It’s tragic because the victims that would come here to receive services don’t have a second location to resort to,” she said.
Most of the building is now empty as repair work begins.
Officials say they’re trying to figure out how so much water was able to fall through the roof.
“It was a mess. It was a mess,” Sheri Strahl of the Family Justice Center said. “That much rain was more than the building could handle at that point.”
It’s unclear when the family justice center will reopen but Mendoza says “we’re hoping to have this facility up and running sooner rather than later.”