The Ottumwa Courier

Ottumwa

August 19, 2013

Resident shines positive light on women's shelter

OTTUMWA — Ottumwa's Crisis Center and Women's Shelter has done its part to empower women and give them a boost in the right direction, a former resident says.

Angela Harland said the negativity lobbed at the shelter in a previous Courier article, "Women's shelter preps for closure," was unfounded.

"I didn't have the same negative experience that these people had," Harland said. "The ladies out there are super sweet."

Harland stayed at the shelter for around three weeks this summer and within that short amount of time, the shelter had helped her find an apartment, a job and pay off a long-outstanding electric bill.

"I got up off my ass and did what I had to do," she said. "It's all a matter of how much you put into it and how you act toward people. There are some in there thinking somebody owes them something. Nobody owes you anything."

Harland said the crisis center and shelter have done a phenomenal job of empowering the women staying there and giving them the tools they need to get back on their feet.

Yes, there were lice at the shelter recently, she said, but lice have plagued hotels and schools for years.

"It wasn't fair and it wasn't right for them to ... bring all this hoopla around it," she said. "As far as promises go, if you take your paperwork you're supposed to take to them, they can fulfill your promise. If you sit on your ass and complain and don't get up and put the legwork in, what are they supposed to do?"

The shelter staff listen, she said.

"They gave me strength," she said. "They could see I was really busting my butt trying to get something done. A lot of the reason I was given the promises they made to me is because I did what I was supposed to do and had the right attitude.

"Yeah, they made promises, but you've got to bring in your end of the bargain. If you put the effort into it, you can get what you need out of it."

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