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.

Safe Places Receives $188,375 Fairfax County Consolidated Community Funding Pool Grant

The Safe Places program relies on funding from numerous sources to continue to be able to offer subsidized transitional housing and support services to dozens of Fairfax County mothers and their children fleeing domestic violence.

Among those sources is the Fairfax County Consolidated Community Funding Pool (CCFP) which funds projects that provide for human services, affordable housing development administration and construction, and acquisition and/or rehabilitation of affordable housing in the county.

Safe Places Director of Supportive Housing Amanda Moyer is pleased to announce that the CCFP has awarded Safe Places a total of $188,375 for Fiscal Year 2017 and FY 2018 to be used for program support.

“We are proud to once again be selected to receive CCFP funding,” said Moyer. “The funding will allow us to continue to enable victims of domestic violence a safe home, free of abuse, and not have to make the awful choice between becoming homeless or living with abuse.

The CCFP is funded through the county General Fund, the Community Services Block Grant and the Community Development block grant and is jointly staffed by five county departments including Housing and Community Development, Family Services, Neighborhood and Community Services, Administration for Human Services and Purchasing and Supply Management.

The CCFP, a competitive grant process, was developed and implemented in 1997 for funding human services offered through non-profit agencies, such as Safe Places.

Safe Places: Providing a ‘Guardian Angel’ to a Family Need of a Home

Caroline first heard of Christian Relief Services’ Safe Places from her neighbor and friend Kathy who was a client in the program.

Little did she know at that time that she would ultimately end up as a Safe Places client herself.

It wasn’t until one day when she was seven months pregnant with their second child and

he struck her, requiring her to get stitches, and she knew it was time to get out of the relationship.

With her 5-year-old daughter in tow, Caroline fled to a domestic violence shelter not knowing how long she would be staying there, hoping and praying that she would not have a child while living in a shelter.

Caroline reached out to Safe Place, contacting Safe Places Project Director Amanda Moyer, MSW, herself.

“Amanda responded immediately,” said Caroline. “That was like the best thing ever.”

Amanda understood that time was of the essence and she was going to do everything in her power to prevent Caroline from giving birth while living at a shelter.

“Bringing a newborn back to the shelter – that would be the worst,” said Caroline.

Amanda was aware of a Safe Places property – a three-bedroom townhouse – that was being vacated that would be perfect for Caroline and her two children.

The problem was usually there is a period of at least a couple of weeks to prepare a residence for the new resident.

“We were rushing to turn this one around,” says Amanda.

Without Safe Places Caroline doesn’t know where she would be today.

“I have absolutely no idea,” she says.

What she does know is that because of the Safe Places program, and the encouragement she received from Amanda following that first phone call, she never felt that she might have no choice but to ultimately return back to her abuser.

She is also especially grateful to Amanda for everything she’s done, stepping up way beyond the call of duty, from day one.

“Amanda is my guardian angel,” says Caroline today. “That’s because of Safe Places.”

Donations Galore!!!!

Safe Places staff spent the last two days picking up donations throughout
Fairfax and Loudoun Counties. Some things were delivered to families right away,
but we’re also excited to announce that we have rented a
Safe Places Storage Unit!
We’d like to THANK The Arbors at Broadlands in Broadlands, VA
for their extremely generous donation of furniture and household items!
We also need to publicly thank Gretchen Hamm for connecting us with so many kind people!

One (wo)man’s trash really is another (wo)man’s treasure!











Girl Scout Cookies!

Safe Places received a donation of delicious Girl Scout Cookies from Troop 2340!

Case managers can’t wait to take the boxes of cookies to each family and see the children’s faces light up.

The Girl Scouts also had a blast coloring this adorable poster for the program. Staff put a smaller version

of the poster on the back of each box of cookies to share with the receiving family.



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Donations Needed!

Safe Places accepts donations of new or gently used women’s and children’s clothing as well as some furniture. Please email or call us to find out what we are currently in need of!

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Stuffed Animal Donation!

We would like to thank an individual donor who gave Safe Places a large
donation of stuffed animals recently! We have been handing out stuffed
animals to the children in the program throughout our home visits, but
will also set some aside for birthdays, etc.

Here is just a glimpse of some of the stuffed animals that were given!

stuffed animals

DV Network Participation

Safe Places staff has been participating in the Domestic Violence Network for the last few years.
This is a monthly meeting where domestic violence professionals throughout Fairfax County
come together and meet regarding various needs in the community.
Trainings have been held during the meeting as well.