KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — More than $4 million dollars has been allocated by the Helen Ross McNabb Foundation to build apartments for domestic violence survivors.

The McNabb Center has seven apartments in discreet locations serving as transitional housing for survivors of domestic violence. More affordable housing is needed in Knoxville, this money came at a critical time.

“We stay full,” said Catherine Oaks, director of victim services at the McNabb Center. “We are constantly getting referrals, we get over 1,500 calls to our crisis line every year from domestic violence survivors.”

Oaks said that on average, women fleeing from abusive relationships who enroll in the center’s program bring two kids with them.

“Four and a quarter-million dollars for us is a large campaign but this is a large need in our community so we’re very excited to have completed the campaign and see some shovels go in the dirt,” said Houston Smelcer, vice president of development and government relations.

The plan is to build six, two-bedroom apartments as well as six one-bedroom apartments to increase inventory of affordable housing for these survivors.

“Our housing option that we’re going to build for these folks will have support services in place. We’ll have staff on site,” said Smelcer. “We’ll have a very large campus where kids can get outside and play in a safe, secluded, very private environment.”

Those leaving the McNabb Center’s domestic violence shelter will live at the new apartments. Survivors may remain in the housing for two to six years.

“It’s really that kind of intermediate time frame when victim-survivors are trying to get on their feet and trying to find independent housing,” said Oaks.

Construction on the new apartments is hoped to start this summer.