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Safehouse shelters victims

Donna Gray

The Advocate Safehouse Project has aided victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse in Garfield County since 1987. Its safehouse gives shelter to victims, primarily women, and their children, who have left their homes and the abuser. Always dependent on both grants and contributions, the nonprofit organization recently applied to the Glenwood Post Independent Holiday Fund for a donation.Although director Julie Olson didn’t ask for a particular amount for the safehouse, she has a variety of needs. An overnight stay at the safehouse runs about $50 a night, she said. Food is a continuing need.”A lot of times a family comes in and they’re not in a position to have money for food,” she said, nor can they wait to go through the application process for food stamps.City Market and Safeway gift cards are a good way to give the gift of food.”A holiday food basket would be appreciated,” Olson added.But more than anything, this and every holiday season, Advocate Safehouse would like to bring some cheer into the lives of people who have been abused by their spouses and who come to the safehouse for shelter.”It may be their first Christmas away from home. We try to make their holidays nice,” Olson said.Telephone calling cards are also a boon.”A lot of people don’t have family here, and no support system,” she said. So it’s important in their quest to break the cycle of abuse to reach out to loved ones.Sometimes the difference between staying in touch with family or not can mean their staying away from an abuser or going back to him or her, Olson added.Families in distress need to get back to normal. A ticket to the movies or a meal at McDonald’s can help them feel like a normal family again, she said.Advocate Safehouse also has a continuing need for the more mundane things of day-to-day life.”Right now we need blankets and sheets,” Olson said. The safehouse has one queen bed, seven twins and a couple of cribs.”People don’t always have to give money,” she said. “But if I don’t get (sheets and blankets) shortly, I’ll have to buy them.”Besides operating a safehouse, the nonprofit operates a 24-hour help line for people in crisis (945-4439; or in western Garfield County, 285-0209) staffed by volunteers seven days a week. Among its other services, it offers individual counseling and two support groups for victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse in Glenwood Springs and Rifle which meet weekly.Advocate Safehouse Project provides transitional subsidized housing for up to two years for victims who have left their homes and are not yet on their feet financially, Olson said.For more information about Advocate Safehouse Project, call 945-2632.Contact Donna Gray: 945-8515, ext. 510dgray@postindependent.com


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