Colorado Gives nonprofit spotlight: Habitat for Humanity, The Humane Society and Rise Above Violence

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By Lori Henricksen, Mike Stoll and Ashley Wilson
Special to The PREVIEW
Colorado Gives Day promotes giving to nonprofits that directly impact our community. This week’s spotlight highlights organizations that provide vital services to our community. Give where you live, Pagosa.
Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity, now, more than ever, is making a difference in Archuleta County.
We’ve spent the last 25 years providing affordable homeownership in our community by building 27 homes for working families and completing vital home repairs for 28 senior households. In 2019, we expanded our impact on homeownership to:
• A school district employee with two children who became a first-time homeowner.
• Three area families who received low-interest USDA mortgages to purchase a home.
• Four senior households who will age in place due to repairs performed on their homes.
This was accomplished with more than 6,800 hours of volunteer labor, 500 hours of homeowner sweat equity and the financial generosity of individuals and businesses like you.
Habitat operates entirely on funds generated from this affiliate, so we rely on your support to provide homeownership for Archuleta County families who would not otherwise be able to own their home. By contributing to Habitat for Humanity of Archuleta County through swcogives.org, you’ll help us impact more Archuleta County families. Our goals for 2020 include:
• One new home built for a family of four (another school district employee).
• Four home repairs for seniors.
• Four low-interest USDA loans for new homeowners.
• Preparation to increase our new home construction to two per year starting in 2021.
The impact your donation makes to these families is more than physical shelter. Homeownership provides:
• A stable place for children to grow up, empowering future generations.
• Pride of ownership and investment in the community.
• Social mobility through home value appreciation.
Your investment in Habitat also adds to our community’s economic base:
• We build a product that stays in Archuleta County, providing tax revenue for our infrastructure.
• Over 88 percent of the materials and services we purchase are in Archuleta County.
• A total of 92 percent of the grants and donations we receive stays in Archuleta County. A small amount of our income is tithed to Habitat’s mission in vulnerable communities around the globe.
• More than 50 Care-A-Vanners — Habitat volunteers that travel throughout the country building homes — stayed, played and worked in Pagosa, adding “volun-tourism” dollars to our economy.
Humane Society of
Pagosa Springs
The Humane Society of Pagosa Springs (HSPS) operates the only animal shelter in Archuleta County and provides a safe haven for lost, abandoned and unwanted dogs and cats. Shelter staff work diligently to reunite lost pets with their families and to find new, loving homes for abandoned and unwanted animals.
Over the past five years, HSPS has maintained a 98 percent live-release rate for all animals entering the shelter, far exceeding the criteria for consideration as a “no kill” shelter. Of the 3,200 dogs and cats entering the shelter during that time, 1,650 were adopted, more than 1,000 lost animals were reunited with their families, and another 400 were transferred to larger like-minded Colorado shelters where adoption demand is great and a new home is just days, not weeks, away.
In addition to caring for animals in need, HSPS serves our community with a wide range of programs designed to benefit both pets and people. HSPS’s spay/neuter programs provide free and low-cost spay/neuter assistance. Since 2015, HSPS has helped cover the cost of spay/neuter surgeries for over 650 owned pets and nearly 800 unowned outdoor cats, as well over 1,200 HSPS shelter animals that were spayed or neutered prior to adoption.
Our community pet retention programs offer assistance to local families and individuals who might otherwise be forced to surrender their pets when faced with unforeseen emergencies or hardships. Programs include a veterinary emergency fund to help cover the cost of pet medical emergencies, helping over 200 in the last five years; provide food donations; help with the cost of pet deposits for pet-friendly affordable housing; provide safe-keeping for pets when an owner is temporarily hospitalized or incapacitated; and offer aid to senior citizens who may struggle to provide the level of care their pets need.
Providing quality care for hundreds of shelter animals each year and supporting our community service programs is enormously expensive. Revenue from grants, fundraisers and our thrift store covers only a portion of annual costs. Financial gifts from donors, near and far, are essential to our continued success.
Rise Above Violence
Rise Above Violence is the only organization that provides supportive services to victims and survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault in Pagosa Springs and the whole of Archuleta County. Rise provides all services for free in order to offer help, hope and healing to those who have experiences this kind of trauma. Rise supports between 350 and 400 victims each year through grants, donations, fundraising efforts and volunteers Rise provides the following services:
• Immediate crisis intervention available 24 hours a day by an advocate trained to listen and provide support. Call anytime day or night at 264-9075.
• Court advocate to explain the criminal justice system and assist with civil restraining orders.
• Emergency transportation to safe shelter. Shelter provided by the SW Safehouse.
• Advocates to assist with other community agencies and supportive organizations.
• Information and referrals.
• Speakers and trainers to provide community education.
• Youth education on topics such as bullying, Internet safety and healthy relationships.
Domestic violence is a repeating pattern, and that recovery from either domestic violence or sexual assault can be a lengthy process. While our advocates are not professional counselors, they do understand. They are trained to assess the needs identify and discuss the options, access available services, and provide information and referrals to other agencies available to help with long-term issues. Rise also has a court advocate on staff to explain and assist with the legal process, including help with filing of restraining orders.
Rise provides all of its services through the help of committed volunteers and the generous support of our community.
Colorado Gives Day
Colorado Gives Day highlights local nonprofits so you can select an organization (or several) that are close to your heart and make an impact in our local community. The organizations from Archuleta County participating are: Rise Above Violence, Aspire, Chimney Rock Interpretive Association, Habitat for Humanity, Humane Society of Pagosa Springs, Justice Ministries of Pagosa and Sonlight Adventures.
Please consider supporting Habitat for Humanity of Archuleta County, Humane Society of Pagosa Springs, Rise Above Violence and our fellow nonprofits on Southwest Colorado Gives Day. Your support strengthens our community. We appreciate your generosity.
For more information or to donate, visit swcogives.org.