New Martin House Children’s Advocacy facility in the works

New Martin House Children’s facility in the works
Published: Jan. 30, 2023 at 10:56 PM CST
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LONGVIEW, Texas (KLTV) - The Martin House Children’s Advocacy Center is expanding with the help of a million dollars in funding from the American Rescue Plan Act.

According to the Children’s Advocacy Center of Texas, over 61,000 children were served in Texas in 2020. But in 2021, that number jumped to 68,000.

Roxanne Stevenson is the executive director of the Martin House in Longview. She says the growing numbers also can be seen in East Texas.

“We’re seeing cases of more children sexually acting out against younger children. We’re seeing higher incidents of children accessing child pornography. And so we really need to develop new programs that can stop abuse before it even starts.”

Martin House would need to meet those needs with a new facility. They are looking to expand their staff of 14 members to 25. They’ve outgrown their current space which is housed in duplexes.

Member of the board of directors Michael Clements Jr. says plans for the upgrade have been ongoing for the past three years.

“If you just walk in the Martin House facility you can see real quick that this is not an adequate place for this type of service to be happening.”

The plan is to build in the lot next door and the current duplexes would be housed by other nonprofits. The cost of the project is estimated to be around $8 million.

At today’s Gregg County Commissioner’s Court, the Martin House received $1 million in ARPA funds.

“As for the rest of the funding, it’s going to have to come from a very generous community. We will be applying for grants as well. And we’re really excited for the future of not only our organization but all the children and families.”

Martin House plans to work on funding the project for the next two years and hopes to have the new facility by the year 2026.