PORTLAND (NEWS CENTER) -- The first residential facility in the country for elderly victims of abuse is opening in Portland
It is called Martha's House after a woman who survived five decades of physical, emotional and financial abuse from her husband. She only talked about it after he died.
With Martha in mind, the refurbished cottage is welcoming, painted in calming colors and located on a secret, secure site so women will be confident their abuser can't find them.
Three women can live there at a time, each for up to two years. They are not asked to pay rent or utilities ... but otherwise the home is all about independent living.
"If they need a visiting nurse we would arrange for someone to come in and check on them," says Linda Weare, Director of Elder Affairs for the City of Portland. "If they need meals on wheels delivers, if they need transportation we would arrange that but day to day there's nobody staying overnight ."
Martha's House is funded with federal stimulus money - $570,000 to be used over three years. Weare says it is one of 91 projects funded across the country - but the only one for seniors.
The Elder Abuse Institute of Maine estimates there are 14-thousand cases of elder abuse in maine each year - only 3500 are reported.
The City of Portland donated the home, and abuse agencies in Portland will coordinate with agencies in Bangor and Lewiston so that residents can come to live at the house from anywhere in Maine.