Serving survivors for over 35 years
Faith House was founded in 1980 by Sister Mary Thomas as a shelter for homeless women. After the oil field bust of 1987, the influx of homeless women was astounding and Sister Mary Thomas assessed the need for emergency housing in Acadiana.
As the calls from abused women increased, Faith House began to shelter them as well as the homeless. In 1987, strict confidentiality policies, security measures, and a counseling component were added to address their needs and in 1992, the Board designated Faith House as a battered women’s program, exclusively.
That first shelter had only 28 beds and was reluctant to turn anyone in need away. Luckily, an eager board member, as well as a fundraising volunteer, took on the project. The board member located the perfect spot for a shelter and the land was purchased, an architect was hired and blueprints were drawn up. The volunteer called 10 friends, who called 10 more friends, and so on, and “Women Helping Women” was formed – the namesake for our yearly luncheon. With the $300,000 raised, new ground was broken in 1998 on the new shelter, with it opening on Christmas Eve that year
The shelter now includes 45 beds, with services extended to six other parishes in Central and South Louisiana through outreach offices and mobile advocacy. Since its inception, Faith House has transformed from a women’s homeless shelter to a crisis center and shelter for all survivors of domestic violence, no matter their age, race, gender, sexuality, social or economic level.
In 2016, Faith House opened the Family Justice Center of Acadiana. The Family Justice Center model is a national model that creates collaboration among local organizations to enhance and improve the local response to domestic violence cases and decrease mortality. We are excited to be able to provide such a comprehensive service to our community by providing easy access to law enforcement, legal services, counseling, and support services all under one roof.
Faith House does not discriminate against any person on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability, or age in admission, treatment, or participation in its programs, services and activities, or in employment, or on the basis of sex in its health programs and activities.
Board of Directors
The leadership of the Board of Directors has been steadfast in their intense dedication to upholding the mission statement. The greatest success is that the program continues to grow and the services offered to all survivors of domestic violence have surpassed all expectations.
Faith House’s Board of Directors consists of community members who proudly serve as volunteers and oversee the accountability of the organization.
Faith House currently has over 40 staff members providing services to survivors.
Faith House Executive Director
Billi Lacombe was born and raised in Jennings, Louisiana; from a very early age, she dreamed of helping women and children in her community. Her dream was realized in 1998 when she was led to a position with Faith House.
Now, as the Executive Director of Faith House, she is able to contribute to the improvement of the lives of women and children in our community on a daily basis.
Emily Mathies Dunn
Director, Family Justice Center of Acadiana
Emily has eight years of experience working with Faith House. She graduated from UL Lafayette with a Bachelor of Science. Her studies at UL focused on Criminal Justice, Sociology and Psychology. She began her career with Faith House shortly after graduating in 2014 as the Outreach Advocate of Acadia Parish. She helped open the Family Justice Center of Acadiana, and, in 2016 became the Legal Advocate for Faith House housed at the Family Justice Center of Acadiana.
Emily has the passion to bring about positive social change in the area of domestic violence and strives to strengthen our community’s response to domestic violence.
Director of prevention & Development
Kristen has 12 years of domestic violence experience in advocacy, public relations, community education, and fundraising. It has been a passion for Kristen over the years to educate the community about the devastating effects domestic violence has on individuals, children, and the community.
Kristen will work to increase fundraising capacity to support the various programs that Faith House offers as well as oversee the children’s program, public education, and awareness of domestic violence and Faith House programs and services.
Geralyn graduated from LSU in May of 2008 with a Bachelor’s Degree in political science then went on to law school at Loyola University New Orleans College of Law obtaining her Juris Doctor (JD) in May of 2012. She passed the bar exam in October of 2012 and began practicing family law for domestic violence survivors when she started with Faith House in December of 2012. She participated in the 2016 opening of the Family Justice Center of Acadiana and continued her work with Faith House as our programs Staff Attorney housed at the Family Justice Center of Acadiana.
For the past 10 years, Geralyn has advocated in the courtroom for survivors of domestic violence in protective order, divorce, child custody, and child support cases. She has also worked closely with the district attorney’s office when offenders have faced pending criminal charges. Geralyn is Danger Assessment Certified and consistently presents continuing legal education courses to the legal community on representing domestic violence survivors.