Stacy’s Success Story

Stacy entered Christian Relief Services’ Safe Places program after fleeing her abusive husband of more than eight years.

It had been a major struggle for Stacy who lived with her husband and his parents, who of course, always took his side in their marital disputes.

After all those years, the decision to leave her husband wasn’t easy, but she knew she had no choice.

Thankfully, Stacy was able to enter the Safe Places program, which provided her with up to two years of affordable transitional housing and counseling and support services, where she and her two young children found a new life without fear.

Today everything is going her way as she has been promoted to a higher paying job within the government agency she works for. Her family members, who live abroad, were supportive of her through that traumatic transition in her life and after learning the life skills to be a successful single mom and handle the family’s finances, she graduated from the Safe Places program and moved into a townhouse.

Since being out on her own, she has secured full custody of her children, found the love of her life whom she married and they enjoy a healthy family relationship and now are renting a home together.

If all that good news was not enough, she and her husband are expecting a baby girl this summer and she just earned her MBA which will enable her to continue to grow in her career.

Claire’s Story: A Perfect Home for Six!

Being a mother of five children, including two teenagers, is demanding and stressful enough – making sure they’re well-fed, getting plenty of sleep, doing their homework and all the other responsibilities it takes in just being “mom.”

Then imagine being in a five-year relationship with the father of your three youngest children, who you once loved, but suffering constant physical and mental abuse. During all that time, you do your best to deal with it all on your own in silence not wanting to burden family members and friends with your troubles, and staying with your abuser “for the sake of the children.”

Then one day, you come to the realization that it is for the sake of the children that you must leave with the knowledge that as the abuse continued to escalate over the years it is never going to get better, and, in fact, your life, and perhaps even the lives of your children are at stake.

But where to go?

That was Claire’s life. After making the courageous decision to flee her abuser taking with her only her children and what little they could fit in her car, she hoped to be able to begin to start her life – their lives – anew by finding temporary refuge in a shelter for victims of domestic violence.

However, in Fairfax County, Virginia, one of the wealthiest counties in the country with a population of more than 1 million, Claire quickly discovered that there are less than 100 beds available for battered women and their children, and the waiting list is long.

Claire couldn’t wait, but she couldn’t stay either. So for nearly two years she and her children were homeless. Dire circumstances, yes, but better than being abused and living in fear for her life.

Then one day in early 2017, Claire was referred to the Safe Places program which provides transitional housing to women in Fairfax County just like Claire.

Even if she was able to find room in a shelter for her and her children, she would be limited to 30 days – not nearly enough time to get her life back on track – before they would be back on the street again trying to figure out where they would sleep night after night after night.

But thanks to the Safe Places program, today Claire and her children know where they are going to be sleeping for up to the next two years.

Safe Places Executive Director Amanda Moyer was able to find the perfect home for a family of six, a three-bedroom townhouse near where she has a full-time job, and her children have the stability of going to the same school every day where they are making friends there, as well as in their own neighborhood.

With the basics in place – a roof over her family’s heads and a steady income to put food on the table every day – Claire is now finally able to think about the future as she works to overcome the trauma of the past, and each day is no longer an ordeal of uncertainty.

With Amanda’s encouragement and with the support of her Safe Places case manager who conducts weekly home visits as well as training in finance and budgeting and life skills, Claire is striving to improve her financial situation while in the program so that in two years she will be fully self-sufficient.

Safe Places provides assistance to clients like Claire who want to take classes to earn certifications and degrees so that she will have more than just a job, but a career with opportunity for advancement – and a life free of abuse and a future filled with hope.

Share the Warmth!

We are finally feeling that chill in the air.  Everyone is taking out their coats, layering on the blankets and preparing for a cozy holiday season.  While the threat of even colder weather looms, we are trying to get prepared so our families can feel that same comfort.  You see, many of our families have experienced being out in the cold and we never want them to feel that again.  So if you are upgrading your coat this season, if your child has outgrown their perfectly good jacket from last year, or if you cannot resist a good sale while you are out shopping–please consider donating a winter coat to Safe Places this year.  Can you share the warmth this year?

To arrange a time to donate your coats and other winter essentials contact Lauren at

Not close by? No time to shop? Consider sponsoring a coat!

Safe Places social graphic

Thanksgiving Drive

We are still working on getting all of the coats in for our coat drive, but somehow it is already November!  Now we are also gearing up for the big feast here at Safe Places.  We want all of our families to experience Thanksgiving the way we do, with full bellies and big smiles.

For many of our families stressed budgets have meant experiencing food insecurity. We want those memories to feel far away—especially over the holidays. With a safe home and a full belly we know this Thanksgiving can provide happy memories for our families.

Can you help us create happy memories this Thanksgiving?

Below is a list of the items we are collecting.  More than anything else we need Turkey sponsorships, by donating $25 or sending us a $25 grocery gift card, every family is able to have that picturesque family meal we are all dreaming about.  All thanksgiving items can be dropped off at our office during business hours (9am-5:30pm).  You can also contact Lauren at to schedule an after hours drop off or a donation pick up.  We can pick up in Fairfax County, Alexandria and Arlington.

Copy of Safe Places - Facebook Cover - Thanksgiving (2)

All Hands on Deck For Our Families


This summer has been a busy one!  We’ve moved in two new families and are making arrangements to move in two more! We are now serving 24 families made up of # individuals.  With all these new clients we have had a growing need for STUFF! Furniture, school supplies, clothing, food. The amazing part is we have had a handful of volunteers working on filling those needs.  We have had several individuals donate furniture this summer, but one has gone above and beyond.  Kim Woods has not only donated some of her furniture, but has sourced other furniture donations to fill our needs.  She has done individual outreach to people on Facebook, her neighbors, her friends and has really spread the word about the work that we do!

With most furniture ready to go to their new families, we are now focusing on back to school (I know, I know summer just started!).  With over 50 school aged children in our program, we have volunteers working overtime engaging their networks in school supply drives. We’re up against the clock and hoping to collect enough supplies so that all of the children we work with feel confident and ready to learn on the first day of school.  Want to be involved?  Sponsor a backpack by donating $50 to Safe Places or order off of our wish list and have requested supplies delivered right to our door!

Holidays 2016

The Safe Places elves have been busy collecting, sorting and now delivering toys
to every child in the program! Thanks to all of our wonderful donors,
we were able to provide toys to every child AND mother in the program this year!
Sorry about the “mess” to all of our co-workers!


FACT Award

Safe Places is excited to announce that we are a recipient of the
Family & Children’s Trust Fund of Virginia, also known as FACT!
Click here to see Safe Places mentioned on their website!

FACT is well-known for their license plate programs, which
can be purchased on their website. More information can be
found on the website, but each license plate costs $25 and 
FACT receives $15 of the $25 fee to support family violence
prevention and treatment efforts. Check them out!


FACT logo

SERF stands for Survivor’s Empowerment and Resiliency Funds

When a client enters the Safe Places program, in addition to securing safe, affordable transitional housing for up to two years, another important goal is to get their financial situation back in shape – something that can be very difficult for a woman with children to do after fleeing an abusive situation and striking out on her own.

No matter how hard she works and how much she tries to save money from her paycheck to prepare for the day she is finally self-sufficient out on her own living in permanent housing.

That’s what SERF is for. SERF stands for Survivor’s Empowerment and Resiliency Funds to provide that little extra help in times of minor emergencies and unexpected expenses.

For example, one Safe Places client had just gotten a new good job, but before she would receive even her first paycheck she needed to replace a tire on her car.

The cost? Only about $100, but it’s $100 she didn’t have meaning that she couldn’t get to work until she received her first paycheck. But here’s the conundrum – her new boss told her if she did not make it in to work that day she was in jeopardy of losing her job.

With the SERF available, Safe Places would be able to help her.

“This funding would be ideal for this situation because we would be able to assist her with replacing the tire immediately so that she would have transportation to work and not run the risk of losing her job,” said Safe Places Director of Supportive Housing Amanda Moyer, MSW.

In another instance, a client had to attend multiple court hearings related to an assault case involving her abuser. However, the court cases were scheduled on her days off and, not having childcare on those days, she had to take her 2-year-old daughter to court.

“The SERF money would be very beneficial because we could pay for childcare for these days and her daughter would not have to go to court and see her parents fighting with one another, yet again,” said Amanda.

Other uses for SERF could go towards furnishings for when a new client moves into a vacant apartment with no furniture, towels and bedding, and kitchen items, or to assist clients moving into permanent housing with funds for paying application fees and security deposits.

“Families moving into permanent housing would greatly benefit from having financial assistance available to them for application fees and security deposits when it comes to securing their new homes,” said Amanda. “It would set them up for success by allowing them to put their savings towards future rental payments.”

And setting them up for success is what Safe Places is all about.

Stuffed Animals Put Smiles on Faces

Children can be hidden victims of domestic violence. Even if they are not directly injured, it doesn’t mean that they don’t suffer emotional abuse and fear by bearing witness.

The emotional pain doesn’t go away when the family is free of the abuser and has moved from a shelter into a Safe Places home. There is no quick fix for that.

But there is a way to ease their suffering of being uprooted – a stuffed animal.

For children who may not have had a smile on their face in weeks, perhaps even months, the joy they express upon receiving new stuffed animal is obvious.

Recently, a Safe Places supporter showed up at our offices at 8301 Richmond Highway, Alexandria, Virginia, 22309 with plastic bags filled with dozens of all types of stuffed animals she wanted to donate to children to spread that joy to many others.

Safe Places Golf Classic a Huge Success

The inaugural Safe Places Golf Classic at The Golf Club at Lansdowne Resort in Leesburg, Virginia on May 20 was a huge success, raising more than $100,000 for the Safe Places program to provide direct client support.

CEO Bryan Krizek noted that the funds raised by the golf tournament are “unrestricted,” meaning unlike funding Safe Places receives from governmental entities which stipulates what the money must be used for, the proceeds from the golf tournament will be used a myriad of ways to assist Safe Places clients on their road to self-sufficiency.

For example, Safe Places Director of Supportive Housing Amanda Moyer said occasionally every client is going to have some type of minor emergency, such as an unexpected necessary car repair which requires only a few hundred dollars to fix, and without a car to get to work, the client could lose their job.

Another purpose for the funding could be to pay for child care when the client must go to court to testify against their abuser or when seeking a divorce so they don’t have to take their young child to court and witness the proceedings, Moyer said.

Event Chair Robert Hisel, Jr. thanked all those for participating noting that Safe Places provided 23,213 safe bed nights to 102 women and children in 2015 alone.

“Your support of this event will enable us to expand our reach and provide critically needed support to so many victims,” Hisel said.

Safe Places would like to thank major sponsors of the Golf Classic: Platinum Sponsor, Dennis Mahafkey, Keller Williams Realty; Gold Sponsors, Sisk & Marvel Investment Group of Wells Fargo Advisors, BB&T Bank, and Blue Marble Realty; and Silver Sponsors, CLA, Clear One Advantage, Crest Insurance, Rees Broome, PC, and Stitely & Karstetter, LLC.