Story last updated at 3:21 p.m. Friday, August 9, 2002

SPWS director leaving
by Carey James
Staff Writer

photo: news
Laurentia Chamblee  
After six and a half years with South Peninsula Women's Services, director Laurentia Chamblee is resigning her position this fall.

Chamblee came to Homer for the executive director position, and, during her time with the organization, worked hard to expand the Lake Street building to include a shelter for victims of domestic violence.

"Being able to be instrumental in getting a shelter," was one of the highlights of her time with the organization, Chamblee said. "It was a need I recognized when I came to Homer. It's great to know that that service is now something we are able to provide."

The 10-bed shelter is scheduled to open later this month or early next, and is the first facility on the southern Kenai Peninsula to offer a safe harbor for victims. Currently, victims must travel to the central peninsula.

Chamblee said much of the success with regard to building the nearly finished shelter can be attributed to the City of Homer, which assisted in its construction.

"They have been extremely helpful and wonderful to work with," she said.

Another development during Chamblee's time with the organization was a domestic violence intervention program to council offenders. The program, started in 1998, attempts to work with offenders to keep violent behavior from reoccurring and to offer anger-management skills. Chamblee ran the group, which serves around 25 court-appointed offenders a year, with Paul Morton.

"Basically, the services that are being offered right now are comprehensive," Chamblee said. "It's my hope that that be continued with the addition of the shelter and some children's programs in the shelter."

Chamblee said the staff at South Peninsula Women's Services are exemplary.

"We've got some of the most knowledgeable and expert and dedicated people that I've worked with," she said.

Before coming to Homer, Chamblee said, she did similar work for an agency in Fairbanks as well as elsewhere in Alaska. While she said she currently plans to spend time focusing on other interests, she said she wouldn't be surprised if more women's services work is in her future.

"The work that we do here is near and dear to my heart, and I imagine I will find some way to involve myself in that work," Chamblee said.