SAFE-T receives grants, is seeking volunteer assistance
The Shelter Agencies for Families in East Texas (SAFE-T) recently received two substantial grants.
SAFE-T received a Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) Grant in the amount of $570,178.95 for transitional housing. A second VOCA grant in the amount of $609,019.00 was received for the Mount Pleasant SAFE-T Shelter; for staffing in the Mount Pleasant office; and for the SAFE-T Outreach Offices in Paris and Sulphur Springs.
“We can always do more, but I feel we have everything we need right now for housing,” said SAFE-T Executive Director Carol Gresham.
“This is going to provide a lot of options for victims,” said Director of Sexual Assault Services and Volunteer Coordinator Mary Ferguson.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and the staff at SAFE-T has been working to raise awareness of the services it offers to help victims and combat the problem.
“We started in 1996 with $19,000,” said Gresham. “All our board members were volunteers. Things have changed a lot for the good. It was frustrating for a long time, especially in the beginning, because victims would return to their abusers due to financial difficulty. We encourage everyone to better themselves and this (the grant monies received) gives them a chance to do that.”
SAFE-T is required to match the grants — and you can assist by volunteering your time. Volunteer hours can be counted toward the match.
“We have to match the grants. That’s why volunteers are so important,” said Gresham.
Ferguson added, “We can always use volunteers at the Safe-T Thrift Store, in the office answering telephones or filing, or with our Sexual Assault Program. Volunteers receive training to assist with the Sexual Assault Program. We have wonderful volunteers. We recently had staff from The Child Development Center and the Northeast Texas Credit Union come in and paint the shelter. We receive monthly donations from churches. We can definitely always use handyman work.”
Gresham noted, “You know I’m from New York and we don’t talk about religion there. It’s just not done — it’s not the way people do things there. But I believe this was all put together for a divine purpose. When we first started I was always so worried where this or that would come from. But we’ve been very fortunate. Things always come together.”
SAFE-T serves eight counties and helped 2,000 victims last year.
The Texas Council on Family Violence recently released the following key facts to galvanize communities across Texas:
• 146 women were killed by a male partner in 2016
• 68 percent of all perpetrators used a firearm to kill their partner
• 24 family members and friends were also killed
• Leaving does not always equal safety. Forty percent of women had left or were leaving the relationship when they were killed.
• Access to economic resources is the best predictor of whether a victim will leave their abuser.
If you need immediate assistance from SAFE-T, contact the SAFE-T Hotline at 903-575-9999 or toll free at 888-801-HELP (4357).
For additional information on how SAFE-T can assist you or how you can volunteer at SAFE-T, visit their website at www.safe-tagency.com. To contact the Mount Pleasant office call 903-572-0973.
For the Paris office, call 903-783-1313; for the Sulphur Springs office, contact 903-439-0325.