The opening of a second neighborhood of safe homes in Cache Valley, thanks to a partnership between a Utah non-profit and a family foundation, is timely. Jill Anderson is the executive director of CAPSA, a nonprofit domestic violence, sexual assault and rape recovery center serving Cache and Rich counties.
Anderson said CAPSA has seen an increase in the number of individuals who have needed support during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The numbers requesting shelter went up 60%," Anderson said. "There was a woman sitting at the kitchen table and she opened the newspaper. And she was looking for apartments and she just closed it and put her head in her hands. She said, 'I don't know how I'm going to afford an apartment and to help raise my kids on my own.' Instead of just crisis intervention, which is a critical piece, we had to do something about that housing piece."
"When people get out the door from abuse, they usually come well under-resourced with debts and a lot of problems and a lot of worries," said Dell Loy Hansen, who came to the event and represented the Hansen Family Foundation.
He said other communities could look to the CAPSA way of transitioning the abused by providing new homes like these that include up to three bedrooms, a two-car garage and landscaping.
"One of our goals is to help lift that worry so that you have resources to buy food, put gas in a car," Hansen said. "Meets some of those just immediate needs. It is not just having a house. It's having a neighborhood and a support. And that's what CAPSA provides in this neighborhood will provide."
The Hansen Family Foundation is also piloting a scholarship program to help CAPSA provide those in need with funding for everyday expenses. CAPSA is currently supporting 21 families in homes and announced there are six more homes under construction to help support CAPSA clients.