Grant will let Latimer House expand services to its clients
Extending a safe haven
Victims of domestic violence will soon have one more tool to break free from abuse, thanks to a recent grant from Mesa County.
Hilltop’s Latimer House, a safehouse for domestic violence victims, has received a $49,000 grant that will extend from two months to three the time victims can stay.
Latimer House offers emergency housing for up to two months along with a 12-month program, but the model leaves many victims without an intermediary solution for housing and safety from an abusive partner. Without a place to go and often without the wherewithal to find work and quickly establish a new life, those victims may be tempted to return to abusive lifestyles.
Grant money is also being used to add 1.5 staff positions which will allow Latimer House to stay open until 10 p.m.
“It is so hard to get out on your own now and two months isn’t long enough,” said Jackie Sievers, executive director of Hilltop’s Child and Family Services. “It’s good to be able to branch out and address the things they are going through. There’s an increased need for services. It’s hard to get housing right now. It’s hard to get a job.”
Sievers is seeking a facility in which to operate the new safehouse. The grant, called the Bridges
Out of Poverty Initiative, covers operations for six months, but the funding may be renewed for up to two more six-month periods.
However, because the grant only allows the nonprofit to lease a facility, Latimer House will soon jump-start a fundraiser in the hopes of being able to purchase outright the building in which the safehouse will be operated. It costs about $840 for each client for one month of bills, including housing, utilities, food, personal care needs and counseling.
Latimer House has 16 beds and three additional apartments which it uses as temporary housing for victims. Because of the apartments, Latimer House is not at capacity. However, during busier months, the home has sheltered many more victims, with some sleeping on mats on the floor.
Extending living stays offers victims more exposure to counseling and more opportunity to work their way into permanent housing and jobs. Sievers said some victims arrive at Latimer House without ever having created a resume or knowing how to access services for themselves. Often abusive partners keep tight reins on their victim, encouraging them not to find work or socialize with others.
“What we are going to see is that violence that is already occurring is going to increase because of additional stressors,” Sievers said. “As always, we’d like people to get help before it escalates.”
A sour economy historically translates into an increase in domestic violence incidences, Sievers said. She realizes the irony that the Latimer House is asking for donations during a recession, when most folks are tightening their budgets.
“I think the community as a whole realizes the importance of this,” she said.
To donate to Latimer House, call 241-0324.
Victims of domestic abuse can call Latimer House’s 24-hour hotline at 241-6704.