Construction crews were pouring the foundation this week for the new domestic violence shelter in Madison. With the slowdown of so much economic activity, we're glad to see this project under way.

The shelter, located on S.W. 2nd Street, will consist of two structures built by the Governor's House Program, which was created in 1996 by former Gov. Bill Janklow to provide reasonably sized, affordable homes to income-qualified individuals and families. They are constructed by inmates in the South Dakota prison system.

The structures will be joined together with a garage to make one continuous facility. One of the homes will be used to shelter families, the other for office space and meeting rooms.

Since the houses are built at South Dakota prisons, they are essentially ready to be placed when the foundation is ready. There is plenty of work to be done to get it ready for occupancy, but the process is a lot faster than starting construction after the foundation is complete.

Seeing construction activity is satisfying, but we're more enthusiastic about the safety that will be provided to adults and children who are victims of domestic violence or abuse. We wish that such shelters weren't necessary, but they are, and this facility will be a godsend to those who need a safe place to be sheltered.

Although the number of people who seek assistance varies, about 60 persons annually stay at the current shelter. Additional people seek assistance from the Domestic Violence Network, such as courtroom advocacy and helping clients obtain protection orders.

We're glad to see activity on the site and look forward to the opening in a few months.

-- Jon M. Hunter