By Kristen Bair | Rise Above Violence
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. Imagine having to choose between being abused and being homeless. It is not a choice. These children are our future. By providing safe housing for victims and their children, we can break the cycle of violence. Many families end up living out of their car or homeless, but we can do better.
It takes the whole community to solve a community problem. How can you help? One of the best ways we can break the cycle of violence is by providing a safe home, which are unused spaces such as second homes, campers/RVs, mother-in-law suites, houses/spaces that are used only part of the time; anything will help, the need is so great.
Safe homes provide victims a place to keep safe and the peace of mind to plan their next steps forward. Most stays at a safe home are less than four weeks in duration; this is really up to the homeowner. You and Rise staff work to create a plan that meets your needs and desires and provides safety for a victim.
Reasons to provide a safe home:
1. You are providing safety for a family and breaking a generational cycle of violence.
2. Our clients are vetted and we have a contract between Rise and the homeowner. Survivor’s have guidelines they have to follow and also sign a contract with Rise. We take care of all the paperwork and it can be formatted to fit any unique situation.
3. We work with our clients legally, financially and emotionally while they are in the safe home.
4. We have a professional cleaner come after each stay to clean property.
5. Our clients sign a confidentiality contract to keep the location of the safe home unknown. This means no late night or wild parties to worry about.
6. A tax receipt for donating to a nonprofit organization.
Right now, we have only one safe home in Pagosa Springs, in the form of a giving couple who offers the space above their garage to victims of domestic violence in their time of need.
Here is their testimony:
“We’ve been a host home for Rise Above Violence for about three years. It has allowed us to experience an expanded idea of sharing space with others in a time of need. We feel gratitude for the opportunity to provide a place of peace and privacy that facilitates rest and recovery. Being a host has given us the opportunity to connect with the community in ways that we had not foreseen. This has been a rewarding and fulfilling experience.
“Rise has been instrumental to the success of the program. They listen to the needs of both the clients and the host and respond promptly. They continue follow-up assessments of the host and client to ensure everything is going well. The staff at Rise promptly answers our calls and questions. At the end of the client’s stay, Rise ensures everything is in order.
“As a host, we defer to Rise to provide the client with counseling, access to community services and supplemental food and sundries. Very little is required of us beyond providing the client with a safe and secure space that can facilitate a transition from a difficult place to a place of new beginnings.”
A survivor’s story:
“I am a domestic abuse survivor who has started a new, safe chapter in my life. I am happy, thriving and so are my children. Finally.
“I attempted to escape my toxic situation for years. I wanted so badly to give my children a better life. For us to be able to live without torment and fear. If it hadn’t been for the transitional housing Rise Above Violence found us, I don’t believe we would be living the life we are today.”
So many women want out, to put a stop to chaos and abuse. So many women want to give their children a better life. But, they have no family, no support, nowhere to go. With transitional housing, these women will have a fighting chance at a better life. A chance for a happy life. So will their children.
Please join us in supporting Pagosa Springs’ most vulnerable population and creating a change in their life for the better. For further questions and information, please contact Kristen Bair, housing advocate, at either email@example.com or (970) 264-1129, ext. 7.
Rise 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.