Campaign has raised more than 63 percent of goal
In response to an ever-growing need for safe, emergency shelter for those fleeing domestic and sexual violence in the Bitterroot Valley, Supporters of Abuse Free Environments, SAFE, is beginning a capital campaign, HOME SAFE, to raise funds to renovate and expand the current emergency shelter. The proposed expansion/renovation will double SAFE’s emergency shelter bed capacity. There are 2 phases of this project. Phase 1 will expand the emergency shelter and residential areas of the SAFE facility. Phase II will expand program space for support groups, education programs, and gathering activities. To date, SAFE has raised over $1.5 million, more than 63 percent of its $2.3 million capital campaign goal, and enough to complete Phase 1 of the project, doubling the size of SAFE’s emergency shelter from 4 bedrooms to 8.
Located in the Bitterroot Valley, SAFE has been providing emergency shelter, housing, and services for those experiencing domestic or sexual violence since 1988. During the last several years, requests for emergency shelter have far outpaced the organization’s ability to meet those requests, and SAFE has been unable to provide shelter for those requesting it 66 times in the last nine months because the shelter was at or over capacity. Utilizing a $1 million grant awarded to the City of Hamilton by the Montana Department of Commerce’s CDBG program, this expansion will provide a safe alternative to being homeless for families fleeing domestic or sexual violence.
“This project is not just an option but a necessity. Families experiencing domestic violence often choose between remaining in an unsafe home or becoming homeless without emergency shelter services. Bitterroot Valley survivors will no longer have to make this decision.” Mary Lynn, former SAFE board chair and chair of the HOME SAFE capital campaign
Executive Director of SAFE Stacey Umhey states, “The best path forward was to take immediate action to accommodate the Bitterroots growing need for Emergency housing. None of us had this project on our radar, but the need is so great that we have to move on this. You can’t put a price tag on providing a safe environment and supports for families as they work toward securing affordable housing and thus a safer future. But the reality is that we need money to complete this project. We can’t do it alone.”
SAFE anticipates providing 150 adults and children each year upon opening its expanded emergency shelter.