Building the Sierra Center became a mission for the staff at One SAFE Place after the tragic murders of Sandy Miller and her two small children, Shelby and Shasta. Sandy and her daughters had come to One SAFE Place seeking help for a domestic violence situation, but left because of the shelter’s crowded dormitory style setting (26 people in 3 bedrooms), noise and lack of privacy. Shortly afterward they were found and murdered by her husband. A new facility became the priority, with a residence shelter, co-located client services, and on-site partner agencies.
Plans were drawn up and a capital campaign was launched. Jean King, executive director at the time, turned to a local bank to seek the funding One SAFE Place needed to build. “The overwhelming support of Cornerstone Community Bank and its belief in One SAFE Place and our vision for the Sierra Center helped allow us to make our dream a reality,” said Interim Executive Director Angela Jones. “We are so grateful to Cornerstone’s support of those who have been victims of domestic and sexual abuse.”
The Sierra Center Residence consists of 13 rooms, with a capacity for up to 52 residents. Individual rooms include a double bed, twin bed and a private bathroom. Clients and their children who have been traumatized by domestic violence or sexual abuse are given the chance to heal and rebuild their lives, with the safety and privacy provided by individual rooms that lock. They also participate in groups where they have the community support of others who have suffered from similar circumstances.
In the residence, the community kitchen allows for three cooking stations. There are six washers and dryers. The living room is a place for families to relax, and it’s also where counseling groups and activities take place. An important part of the facility is the emphasis on children’s programs – counseling, curriculum and case management.
The increase in the length of stay in residence has grown from an average of 11 days last year to an average of 35 days this year. Many families now have stayed up to 90 days, giving them the time they need to get safe, to heal, to feel supported, to find jobs and to locate housing.
“Our most exciting new development is that One SAFE Place recently was able to place its first client family into transitional housing,” Jones said.
There are numerous ways to support One SAFE Place, but one of the most fun is its crab feed. The 30th annual event is set for Saturday, Feb. 4, at the Shasta District Fairgrounds in Anderson. Cocktails and auction item viewing begins at 4 p.m., and dining room doors open at 4 p.m. Cost is $50 per person, which includes all-you-can-eat Dungeness crab, clam chowder, salad, French bread, dessert and coffee. No-host beer, wine soda and margaritas are also available. To become a sponsor or volunteer, call Kristi at 244-0118 or visit their website: ospshasta.org.