Bright Future Foundation raising funds to build local domestic violence safehouse/shelter | VailDaily.com

Bright Future Foundation raising funds to build local domestic violence safehouse/shelter

the local domestic violence safehouse is on the fourth year of a five-year lease extension. The landlord has not said they have to leave, but the Bright Future Foundation folks who operate the facility have decided that their safehouse would be safer if they owned it.

"It's in our best interests to find a location we can control," said Sheri Mintz, Bright Future Foundation executive director.

The lease is up in December 2018. They would like to have their new safehouse built by then, Mintz said.

Their timing is good. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, as proclaimed by President Donald Trump on Saturday, Sept. 30.

"Domestic violence is never acceptable," Trump wrote in the proclamation. "During National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, I call on all Americans to promote the safety and liberty of the women, men and children who are subjected to violent, intimidating or controlling behavior at the hands of those closest to them. All humans have inherent dignity, and no one deserves to be in an abusive relationship."

Build locally

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To build a safehouse and equip it with everything they need to help families fleeing domestic violence in Eagle County and everything that goes with it, Bright Future Foundation needs to raise $2 million, Mintz said.

The new safehouse will include common meeting and learning areas and a playground for children.

Doe Browning got them halfway there. Browning is a Bright Future Foundation board member and donated $1 million to the safehouse.

"Bright Future Foundation hopes to build a shelter for any and all who seek safety, counsel and healing in the wake of extraordinarily difficult circumstances," Browning said. "Our shelter will bring dignity back to many who suffer, enabling them to live, work and play in our beautiful valley with trust and without fear."

Not bigger, but better

The current safehouse can house as many as 21 victims at once, and they do not intend to build anything much larger — maybe as many as 26 victims, Mintz said.

"The capacity has suited our needs," Mintz said.

The new safehouse probably will not be much bigger, but it will be configured differently.

"The best practice now is to provide families their own self-contained living spaces, as well as the common areas they can share," Mintz said.

They'd also like to make the new safehouse pet friendly. By the time someone gets to a safehouse, they've been through enough and do not need to be worrying about something like who they can get to take care of the dog.

They're looking for an appropriate location, Mintz said, and because safety follows anonymity, they're keeping the current and new locations secret, Mintz said.

Doe's a dear

Browning's $1 million pledge is the single largest donation to Bright Future since the organization was founded more than three decades ago.

"Doe's commitment puts us on the path to freedom for our clients," said Lisa Tyler, Bright Future Foundation board president.

Raising another $1 million is a big hurdle to clear, Mintz said.

"Over the next year, we will be reaching out to members of the community to voice their support for safety and freedom from domestic violence and abuse," Mintz said.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or rwyrick@vaildaily.com.

About Bright Future Foundation

• Has served the Vail Valley since 1984.

• Offers programs including the Freedom Ranch Safehouse, Advocates Against Assault, Rapid ReHousing, Ensuring Freedom Supportive Housing, 24/7 Crisis hotline, Buddy Mentors and EmpowerMENt Youth Violence Prevention.

• Served 670 survivors in the past year.

• Awarded 2016 Nonprofit of the Year by the Vail Valley Partnership.

• Abides by the mission statement: Making futures bright: Changing lives affected by domestic violence and sexual abuse.

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