Change someone’s life: Rise Above Violence seeking safe homes

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By Kristen Bair | Rise Above Violence

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and here at Rise Above Violence, we believe that all people have the right to live free from violence. 

Studies have shown that housing is the first defense against not only domestic violence, but also homelessness. Survivors of domestic violence often must flee their homes to escape life-threatening violence from an abuser. Securing safe, affordable housing is a crucial step on a survivor’s long-term security, and often means the difference between being able to leave and having no choice but to stay. In 50-70 percent of violent families, the children are also abused, and 80 percent of our survivors have children. These children are our future. By removing children from an abusive environment, you can help break the cycle of violence.

Currently in Pagosa, as well as all of Colorado, we are in the midst of a major housing crisis. This crisis is proving to be the hardest on one of our most vulnerable populations: domestic violence survivors. Their need for a safe home doesn’t stop amidst this crazy housing dilemma. They still need a safe place to stay. What we are in the most need of is transitional housing: somewhere for survivors to stay for an interim of one to three months. Here, they can begin their recovery and also work to find longer-term housing solutions. 

Rise can pay rent for qualifying candidates. We have the funds to help. We are on the lookout for anyone who has mother-in-law suites, second homes that are sitting vacant for long or short periods of time, small apartments, campers on land or without land. They need to be available to rent or by tax-deductible donation. 

Please reach out. You can be an everyday hero in our community and make the first step in changing someone’s life for the better. Please contact Kristen Bair, Rise housing advocate, at kristen@riseaboveviolence.org or (970) 264-1129, ext 7.

Activities for
Domestic Violence Awareness Month

1) Purple ribbons on light posts downtown: Purple is the color of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and the ribbon serves as a visual reminder of the prevalence of domestic violence in our community. Rise serves more than 400 victims of domestic violence and sexual assault every year and we know there are many more that do not call for help.

2) Proclamations were read at both the Pagosa Springs Town Council’s and Archuleta County commissioners’ meetings on Tuesday, Oct. 4. 

3) Clothesline project: T-shirts designed by survivors and students emphasizing the issue of domestic violence in our community will be hung at Town Hall until Oct. 14 and will be hung at other locations in our community throughout the month.

4) Oct. 20: Wear-purple day, and our last coffee talk of the year will be held at 9 a.m. at the Tennyson Building Event Center. We will share ideas and information as part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month as well have coffee and treats for a time to come together for change.

5) iRISE Adventure Challenge: 30 miles in 30 days for the month of October raising funds and awareness for domestic violence. You can still register for the challenge and learn more about how to win our amazing grand prize valued at more than $2,000.

You can join with us this Domestic Violence Awareness Month by participating in one of our activities and choosing to be part of the solution. You can provide one night of safety for a survivor in crisis by partnering as a safe home or donating. A donation of $100 provides one night of safety to a victim and their children. Learn more at riseaboveviolence.org.

Rise Above Violence is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that provides 24-hour support and advocacy services for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault or other forms of violence, serving around 400 victims each year. Rise also works to eliminate violence through education for youth and our community. All programs and services are free and confidential, including emergency prevention education and empowerment programs. Visit www.riseaboveviolence.org for more information or call (970) 264-9075 to talk to an advocate today.