Bigger shelter for domestic violence victims to open in fall
EVERETT - By this fall, there will be a larger safe house for domestic violence victims.
Domestic Violence Services of Snohomish County (DVS) broke ground last week on a new 52-bed shelter for women and children in north Everett. The new site will open Nov. 1 and put legal advocates, shelter coordinators and staff under one roof with shelter residents.
The shelter is repurposing an old Army Reserve site. To protect women fleeing from abusive situations, the Tribune isn’t publicizing the shelter’s location.
On the same property, the Everett Housing Authority will build a two-story, 20-unit long-term housing facility for recovering victims moving out of the shelter. The housing authority will break ground on that facility in July and possibly open by next summer, housing authority director Ashley Lommers-Johnson said last week.
“This will be a good partnership,” Lommers-Johnson said.
While outlining the project, DVS director Vicci Hilty told contractors: “Do you know what you’re building? It’s not a building, it’s a heart.”
Domestic violence affected more than 1,500 people in Snohomish County in 2010 and 2011, according to statistics analyzed in a 2011 DVS report.
Many times, domestic violence victims who leave home are left homeless and it affects their work capabilities and mental state, DVS representatives said. Domestic and sexual violence is a leading cause of homelessness, according to national policy groups.
Victims will be able to get legal support and assistance all under the same roof, DVS volunteer coordinator Sharon Lee said.
The new shelter will be equipped with a new commercial kitchen, computer labs and other amenities. Each shelter unit will have two bedrooms and all the amenities of a small apartment, Lee said.
A new children’s center will be on the property.
“It looks so clinical and industrial now but when it’s done it will be warm and fuzzy,” Lee said.
DVS shelters women and children. Men receive hotel vouchers.
The shelter cost $6.9 million to build. About $3.9 million was for the land gifted by the Army, Hilty said.
“Unfortunately, we need facilities like these and the community’s support,” said U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, a Democrat representing the 2nd Congressional District who was instrumental in having the Army gift the land to the shelter.
The 52-bed shelter will replace a 15-bed shelter DVS operates. Despite the clear need for more shelter space, DVS, a nonprofit, can’t afford to operate both shelters, Hilty said.
The smaller shelter housed 211 people in 2011, but turned away 1,492 people, a DVS annual report states. The 15-bed shelter cost $522,000 to run in 2011, the same report states.
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