Tahoe Women’s Services may lose home | SierraSun.com
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Tahoe Women’s Services may lose home

ABHUTCHISON, Sierra Sun

For the past five years, the Tahoe Women’s Services Mountain Rose Safe House has been a refuge for women and children escaping abusive situations in the Truckee-Tahoe area.

But the agency is currently in danger of losing the six-bed shelter and is looking to potential investors in the community for help. The owner of the property has informed Tahoe Women’s Services the residence will soon be put up for sale.

“It would be a huge loss to us, especially because of the fact that housing options are so limited in the area,” said Melanie Kauffman, interim executive director of Tahoe Women’s Services.

“We would have to refer women and children out to other counties and communities. If we have to send them out it would be difficult to provide transportation, especially during the winter. How would we get them there in the middle of the night? The situation would unravel additional problems for these women,” Kauffman said.

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. A Kid’s Time program provides fun and structured activities and links them with positive role models and community resources.

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 will continue providing short-term emergency lodging in motels,” Kauffman said, adding that lodging could only be guaranteed for two to four days. “We would be forced to refer women to other shelters outside the immediate area.”

This would result in women and children who are connected with the Truckee-Tahoe community having to uproot themselves and find new jobs and schools in other communities.

The exact location of the house can not be disclosed because of confidentiality and for added safety and protection.

“I can say that it’s in California and it’s in the North Lake Tahoe-Truckee area,” Kauffman said. There are currently four women and three children staying at the shelter.

Kauffman said the house is not yet on the market, but that it may happen in the near future.

“It could be anytime,” she said. “That’s why we’re quick to launch this campaign.”

Tahoe Women’s Services has launched a “Save Our Safe House” campaign in an effort to obtain $290,000 in private, tax-deductible donation funds for the agency to purchase the house.

The Mountain Rose Safe House was made possible through a grant awarded from the California State Department of Health, Maternal and Child Health Branch. The agency is hoping potential investors would be interested.

“We will try to mobilize the community to help us,” said Estelle Kersh, chairperson of the fund-raising committee on the TWS board of directors.

“We’re pleased and grateful with some of the responses we’ve had from the community thus far and it would be wonderful to see this through to fruition,” Kersh said.

“A financial investment will serve as a commitment to end violence in our community,” she said.

Those interested should call Estelle Kersh at (775) 833-0533.


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