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  • Writer's pictureMegan Stuke

Growing Forward: A Second Shelter

Updated: Mar 5, 2020

The Willow has big news! We are growing! (Learn more on our website) When I talk to community organizations and local groups about The Willow, they often express surprise at the size of our staff and the scope of our work. We currently employ 31 people and serve thousands of clients a year in our various programs including support groups, court advocacy, safety planning, funds for safe housing and supplies, foster care transitions, human trafficking advocacy, and safe shelter. What this tells me is that folks are probably unaware of the staggering scope of the problem of domestic violence and human trafficking in our area. In fact, the scope is larger than even we can effectively support. Our 28-bed shelter is always at capacity and we have to turn away over 30 requests for shelter per month. Recently, we moved our shelter from a 30-day stay to a 90-day stay because we know that it takes more than 30 days to begin to recover from trauma and rebuild a life, sometimes from the ground up. This means getting new documents such as birth certificates and drivers licenses, finding safe and affordable housing, securing employment and child care, and addressing the emotional pain and isolation victims and their families endure.  This 90-day stay is trauma-informed and is already very successful at helping individuals and families stabilize and have long term success in living independently. But 90 days means we have fewer vacancies and fewer folks can access shelter. Additionally, our shelter had a flood in December that cost us the use of our basement, and about half of our beds. While insurance has paid for some of the repairs, it isn't coming close to covering the whole cost. We are working hard to rebuild and reopen those rooms, but for all of these things, we need your help.

To address this, we are very excited to announce that we are launching the Growing Forward Capital Campaign! We have identified a house that will serve as an additional shelter. It is a perfect fit for our needs and will only require a small amount of renovation to make it perfect for our residents and advocates to do long-term, life-changing work. We are also working to do some major landscaping to the backyard of our current shelter, as research shows that outdoor spaces that are properly equipped are very therapeutic and are needed for recovery from trauma.

You can help us change lives today by supporting our Growing Forward Capital Campaign. We have already raised more than 25 percent of our total goal of $700,000 to make this dream come true. The Willow has to grow forward so that survivors of domestic violence can grow forward. Together, we will transform lives! Donate Now!

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