Two Central Coast organizations merged this month to better serve people affected by intimate partner and sexual violence.
Stand Strong and RISE now make up Lumina Alliance.
They individually served people who oftentimes had overlapping needs and experiences, so the merger now allows people to get help in one place.
"We also have emergency shelters, transitional housing. We can help with case management, help people with anything going on in the courts, we have a legal department,” said Lumina Alliance CEO Jennifer Adams.
There are no requirements to receive help from the organization. Services are provided at no cost, are confidential and can also be done in Spanish.
"At the beginning of the pandemic, the need or the request for services really dropped and it was really interesting because what we then heard from our law enforcement community was that their calls were really increasing,” Adams said.
People were told to stay home as much as possible in the months following the start of the pandemic and away from work or schools where someone else could witness behavior, maybe intervene, or alert authorities of possible abuse situations.
"So there were more calls to the police because the violence escalated, and that was where they needed help in stopping the violence,” Adams said.
People seeking help can call or walk into the office. Lumina has a 24/7 crisis line and on its website, there is a quick escape button which, when hit, will clear cookies on a browser, so the search cannot be tracked.
“We have three shelters now, two in North County and one in San Luis Obispo,” Adams said, “and we have the capabilities of serving, and providing bed space to around 60 people.”
Anyone can seek help at a Lumina shelter or with the organization regardless of documentation status, gender identity or sexual orientation.
Last year, Rise and Stand Strong provided services to around 1,800 people.
For more on the organization, click here.