Tahoe Women’s Services purchases Safe House | SierraSun.com

Tahoe Women’s Services purchases Safe House

In a campaign that lasted less than a year the Tahoe Women’s Services have raised the necessary money, through community donations and a Department of Housing and Community Development grant, to purchase their Safe House.

The $172,728 grant from the HCD, along with the the $134,255 raised in the North Lake Tahoe and Truckee communities, will allow the organization to continue providing shelter for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.

Tahoe Women’s Services began the “Save the Safe House Capital Campaign” last fall and announced last week they had raised enough money to purchase their safe house, a remarkable feat, according to Executive Director Michele Ostrander.

“The community really rallied around our need to purchase a safe house,” she said. “It really was a community effort.”

Last year the Safe House provided shelter for 24 women and 24 children, all victims of domestic violence. Tahoe Women’s Services provided shelter for an additional 95 women and children in local hotels and motels. They are the only organization providing such a service in North Lake Tahoe.

Tahoe Women’s Services also offers counseling to the victims and their children, supplies legal assistance with criminal cases and restraining orders, and offers rental assistance when the women are ready to leave the Safe House.

In recent years, and in the aftermath of several high profile cases involving domestic violence, public awareness of the problem has increased markedly and Ostrander said that more money is available for programs that deal with domestic violence like Tahoe Women’s Services.

This is the eighth time that Tahoe Women’s Services has received a grant from the HCD. Within the HCD’s division of community affairs approximately 20 percent of their grants go towards domestic violence shelters, according to the division’s deputy director Bill Pavao. Pavao also said that the division of community affairs received a sizable augmentation to their budget this year.

In 1994 congress passed the Violence Against Women Act which called for the strengthening of law enforcement to reduce violence against women, strengthening services to victims of violence and limiting the effects of violence on children. The 1994 law also budgeted funds for safe houses. In 2000 over $72 million was earmarked in the bill for the creation of safe houses.

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