Domestic violence safe house still at risk | SierraSun.com
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Domestic violence safe house still at risk

ABHUTCHISON, Sierra Sun

Tahoe Women’s Services’ Mountain Rose Safe House is still safe – it is not on the market yet and the organization is looking at potential funding sources.

“The newspaper article really helped with exposure and generated some interest,” said Melanie Kauffman, interim executive director for Tahoe Women’s Services. “We’ve had a couple of inquiries from potential funding sources. We’re excited about that, but there is nothing permanent yet.”

The safe house has been a refuge for women and children escaping abusive situations in the Truckee-Tahoe area for the past five years. The agency was recently informed that the residence would be put up for sale by the owner of the property and is hoping to secure funding before the home is listed on the market.

“Primarily, we are seeking a down payment on the house so we can maintain the cost of operations for the shelter,” Kauffman said. The down payment at 20 percent of the cost of the home would be approximately $55,000.

“Another option we’re looking at is if an investor has some type of stock or bond portfolio that they would be willing to use as some sort of collateral to help us with our down payment … it’s sort of like being a co-signer.”

Tahoe Women’s Services is also sending out an annual appeal letter to its donor data base referring to the situation with the safe house and funding options.

“We’re pretty confident this funding will come through,” Kauffman said.

“Our fund-raising committee through the board of directors is working diligently through this campaign. It’s a priority.”

Currently, families may stay in the safe house for up to two months. During their stay, women are immersed in a network of support which includes counseling, parenting classes, support groups and domestic violence education. Children also participate in individual counseling and support groups to help them with their individual needs and to learn positive healthy responses. After a two-month stay, women are financially and emotionally ready to create safe homes of their own, free from abuse.

Without the safe house, Tahoe Women’s Services would continue providing short-term emergency lodging motels, but that lodging could only be guaranteed for two to four days. The agency would be forced to refer women to other shelters outside of the community.

The exact location of the house cannot be disclosed for confidentiality for the families and added safety and protection, but it is in the North Lake Tahoe-Truckee area.

“The owner of the property is aware of our progress, so he is willing to hold off on listing the house,” Kauffman said. “But still, time is of the essence.”

Those interested in contributing to saving the safe house should call Estelle Kersh, chairperson of the fund-raising committee for the TWS Board of Directors at (775) 833-0533.


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