With a new director and some staff changes, Safe Harbors, the Wallowa County agency dedicated to providing intervention and advocacy services to victims of sexual assault and domestic abuse, is taking on a greater role in the community.

Safe Harbors hosted an open house Oct. 19 to show the community and some of its community partners some of the agency’s plans for the future. “Our open house was great,” Safe Harbors Director Amy Stubblefield said. “A lot of our community partners came in to see us and the new office area and meet the new staff. We had some community members come out including one who is interested in being on our board, and some who want to volunteer.”

Financial support always is a primary concern for Safe Harbors. “One of the issues we’ve been running into is there’s no non-specific funds that we can provide for -- things like getting a victim a new birth certificate, Social Security card, driver’s license -- those vital documents they need and sometimes have to flee without,” Stubblefield said.

Even providing some necessities for protecting a victim, such as travel expenses or safe housing for extended periods, is beyond the financial capability of Safe Harbors.

“Our max time we can offer at the shelter is about 30 days, although we’ve been able to extend it a few times,” Stubblefield said. “Sometimes victims can save enough for first and last (month’s rent), but not enough for a deposit, so it’s heartbreaking to tell a victim that we’ve hit the end of what we can do to help because the barrier is financial and our funds are limited.”

Still, the Safe Harbors staff tries to help victims seek other resources. “We always try to encourage victims to be empowered and seek out other organizations and other programs that have money for those programs,” Stubblefield said. “If they (the victim) haven’t done their work, I don’t want the discouragement to come from, ‘So, great. I left, and now what?’”

The agency’s most recent funding push is the creation of a “100 Club.”

“We’re looking for 100 individuals who are willing to donate $100, and that would give us a $10,000 pool of money to use specifically for those types of needs,” Stubblefield said. She added that the organization already received some donations via word of mouth, but expects to start a full-fledged campaign soon. “The giving season really happens around the holidays, plus people are looking at avenues for tax deductions,” Stubblefield said. “And because we’re a 501C, donations are fully deductible.”

Stubblefield said local business Sugar Time Bakery is donating 50 percent of the proceeds of its purple items, which signify the importance of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, to Safe Harbors.

The agency is conducting a class for Safe Harbors volunteers from 5-7 p.m. Nov. 10, 17 and 24. from 5-7 p.m. “We’re asking for an RSVP by the 5th of November,” Stubblefield said. “We will provide light food and we can provide daycare if needed.” For more information, visit www.wcsafeharbors.com.

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