When the 15-bed Loudoun Abused Women's Shelter opened in 1985 to assist domestic violence victims, Loudon County had about 75,000 people.
The 1,500-square-foot shelter north of Leesburg now serves a county of more than 300,000. On Tuesday, the volunteer board of directors began making a plea for someone to donate land or a house for a new shelter.
"The good things have grown, and the bad things have grown," said Sue Curtis, the shelter's executive director, who was there in the early years.
The shelter can only hold three or four families, because most women come with more than one child. The private, nonprofit agency -- which offers a variety of services -- has nine full-time employees and a budget of $1.1 million. Last year, 41 women and 45 children stayed in the shelter.
With the increased demand for its services, some women are turned away from the shelter. Sometimes, domestic violence victims with nowhere else to go are sent to hotels. But one of the advantages of having women at the shelter, Curtis said, is that they can get help from a night counselor.