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The Daily Tar Heel

Chapel Hill Compass Center consolidates offices

The nonprofit organization previously offered self-sufficiency services, including financial education and career programs, from the Henderson Street office. Domestic violence and support group services were located in a second office at 207 Wilson St.

Ilyasah Shabazz, development and marketing coordinator for the Compass Center, said the offices were consolidated so clients can more easily access all the services the organization offers.

“If someone were to come in and see us for a financial appointment or a career appointment, and it comes up that they also have experience with abuse, we can refer them internally versus asking them to come to a different location,” Shabazz said.

The location change is the second phase of the July 2012 merger that combined the Women’s Center and the Family Violence Prevention Center of Orange County into the Compass Center.

Ardith Burkes, interim executive director of the Center, said the change will provide a more comfortable experience for clients.

“It’s easier for the clients to have just one spot to come to so they can get to know all the staff and volunteers, they get to know one space and it can feel really comfortable,” Burkes said.

Though the Compass Center served thousands of individuals between the two offices last year, Burkes said it will be able to help just as many clients from one office this year.

Sam Heath, a UNC student and hotline advocate for the Compass Center, said the change has made it easier for him to make sure the clients he speaks with get as much help as possible.

“Having all of our services in the same building allows me, as a hotline advocate for victims of domestic violence, to seamlessly transition clients to take advantage of our other services related to their self-sufficiency,” Heath said.

While many of its clients are town residents, the Compass Center also serves UNC students. Burkes said students who have experienced relationship abuse are often referred to the Compass Center from on-campus services and organizations such as the Department of Public Safety, Campus Health Services, Carolina Women’s Center, the UNC women’s studies department, UNC LGBTQ Center and the Office of the Dean of Students.

“We see it really as an honor that people are willing to come in and help us understand what they’re currently experiencing and then let us sort of guide them,” Burkes said.

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