Share A Haircut Campaign

On February 2nd and 3rd, when any client (adult or child) purchases a haircut at Hair Cuttery, theywill match that haircut by donating a free haircut certificate to Safe Places. On February 4th, they will tally how many haircuts were purchased in our region and they will then be able to provide Safe Places with certificates to hand out to each family. This is something that the families look forward to each year – and talk about throughout the year!

The certificates can then be redeemed at any Hair Cuttery salon. The goal is to help homeless individuals and families in the community.

SAH Feb 2014 (2)

Holiday Celebrations

In December, it just wouldn’t feel like the holidays without a holiday party, so Safe Places held an annual holiday party complete with Santa and Mrs. Claus, who brought smiles to the kids’ faces. Thanks to Just Clowning Around of Northern Virginia, elves were there painting children’s faces with their favorite cartoon character or animal, too. Of course, Safe Places staff wasn’t about to let the children leave the party empty handed so working again with the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department and Toys 4 Tots out of the U.S. Marine Corps base at Quantico each child was provided with multiple toys from Santa to take home.

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Toys for All!

This past fall Safe Places staff connected clients with the
Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department which has giveaways of school supplies and
winter coats ensuring children in the program were prepared for school on the very first day
and didn’t have to face the stigma of not having even a pencil, while also making sure that they
would be plenty warm during freezing cold mornings while waiting at the bus stop.

 Safe Places staff went to the Penn Daw Fire Station and participated in their
Annual Toy Drive and were even lucky enough to receive a bicycle for one lucky little boy.
Toys were donated from organizations throughout the community. This really shows how the community
comes together in order to help out those in need. This toy drive, along with the Toys for Tots program
and donations from individual donors allowed for Safe Places to provide toys for
all 50 children in the program this past holiday season.

Housing Updates

In late fall, Safe Places staff was able to refer four clients to the public housing lists, which had been closed for years. Luckily enough, two of clients were selected and their units were made available for move-in. Similar to the Safe Places program, clients are paying 35% of their income. But unlike Safe Places, which is only able provide transitional housing, public housing units do not have time-limits on them and residents are allowed to live there indefinitely – a permanent home for as long as they like.

Thanksgiving with Safe Places!

With the help of His Hidden Treasures and Americans Helping Americans, we were able to provide full Thanksgiving meals to every Safe Places family this year. Clients were given boxes which included turkeys along with all the “fixings” necessary for a full Thanksgiving meal.

Safe Places Receives Wells Fargo Funding

Christian Relief Services Charities Receives  Grant from Wells Fargo Foundation
for its Safe Places Transitional Housing Program Benefiting Victims of Domestic Violence

 

Christian Relief Services Charities is pleased to announce that the Wells Fargo Foundation has awarded it a grant in support of its Safe Places transitional housing program for victims of domestic violence and their children which operates in Fairfax County, Virginia.

Since 1996, Safe Places has been vital to survivors of domestic violence offering safe, affordable housing to women and their children. The mission of Safe Places is to break the cycle of domestic violence so families can live their lives free of abuse.

Simply stated – Safe Places saves lives.

In Fairfax County, domestic violence is the leading cause of homicide. Victims also represent 41 percent of the homeless population in the county. When a woman leaves an abusive relationship, she is at the highest risk of danger and often has no place to go, faces discrimination, and often is temporarily unable to work. Women are then left with few financial resources, wherein finding and obtaining safe, affordable housing is nearly impossible.

With the lack of resources, affordable housing and long wait lists, many women and their children are forced to make the terrible choice between suffering abuse at home and becoming homeless.

A strong investment in transitional housing is crucial, so that the woman is able to leave the shelter system as quickly as possible – generally within 30 days – without returning to her abuser.

When a woman enters the Safe Places program she is assigned a case manager who works with her and her children to develop her individualized service plan and supports her through incremental steps to achieve her goals. This work takes place during home visits and out in the community where the case manager also serves as her advocate when seeking community resources and/or support.

Once in the Safe Places program, in addition to safe housing that she is able to afford based on her wages, she is offered case-management services provided by Safe Places staff, and individual financial counseling through its Economic Empowerment Program for up to 24 months so that when the transitional period is over she will be able to support herself and her children on her own.

Other opportunities for enrichment and wellness include connection with employment services and, if necessary, immigration legal services as well as individual and group therapy services.

One hundred percent of the grant will be used for program costs supporting case management services, according to Safe Places Program Director Amanda Moyer.

“On behalf of the clients we serve I want to express our sincere gratitude to the Wells Fargo Foundation for its generosity to the Safe Places program,” said Moyer.

Coat Drive

The Penn Daw Fire Station held its annual coat drive that we participate in, which allowed us to give coats to each mother and child in our program this year. Although the weather has not been as cold as it usually is, it is chilly in the morning when the children are out at the bus stop! We also have a few coats in our offices for emergency situations, which is not something that we often have.

Safe Places Receives $350,000 from DOJ Office on Violence Against Women (OVW)

Christian Relief Services is proud to announce its Safe Places program received
a $350,000 Transitional Housing Grant from the U.S. Department of Justice
Office on Violence Against Women (OVW). The mission of Safe Places is to break
the cycle of domestic violence so families can live their lives free of abuse. The
overall purpose of Safe Places is to give families the opportunity to heal from
domestic violence, strengthen family relationships, work towards economic security
and secure and maintain permanent housing.

With the grant funding from the OVW, Safe Places will be able to provide 34 families
with up to 24 months of transitional housing during the 36-month grant term and
Safe Places offers critical services to clients including strength-based case management,
victim advocacy, individual counseling through its Economic Empowerment program,
and specialized employment services and legal services for immigrants. Safe Places
program operates properties located in various confidential sites throughout the
County that provide transitional housing for victims of domestic violence for up to two years.

Domestic violence is the leading cause of homicide affecting one in four households in
Fairfax County, which has the second highest Area Median Household Income in the
country at $111,079. The County only has 76 shelter beds dedicated to victims of
domestic violence, and had to turn away 411 eligible households in 2013 due to
a shortage of beds.

The OVW Transitional Housing Assistance Program provides a holistic,
victim-centered approach for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating
violence or stalking to move through transitional housing and supportive services
into permanent housing, according to OVW principal deputy director Bea Hanson.

Annual Summer Picnic

So that children and their mothers get to have some family fun together, Safe Places hosted a summer picnic in September which provided clients a chance to get to know each other and develop friendships, and for the children – simply a time to run around with each other, worry free. Once again, Just Clowning Around of Northern Virginia was there to entertain the children. children love to get their faces painted and watch the magic shows put on by the clowns!

Knocking These Walls Down with Safe Places

“Monica” had a heartbreaking story: the man she fell in love with, married, and had children with turned out to be an abuser. For years, she tolerated it thinking she had no other option – until she finally found the courage to flee to an emergency domestic violence shelter. It was there she learned of the Safe Places program.

Throughout her time in the program, Monica was able to gain self-sufficiency and secure permanent housing. Monica, an aspiring singer, even wrote a song about her experience which includes the lyrics: “Take me from this place so that I can breathe/With nowhere to go and no one to lean on/Taking my life back, now how do you like that/And now I’m free, free to be me.”

For Monica, a future that once seemed hopeless has now gotten much brighter thanks to the Safe Places program and her own desire to build a better life.