Mintz: Domestic violence survivors and their families thrive in a home that is safe and permanent
This month marks the one-year anniversary of the opening of Bright Future Foundation’s BrightHouse, our emergency housing facility for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and trafficking. BrightHouse has rapidly become a national model for sheltering for its trauma-informed design, its combination of private and congregate spaces, and its ability to welcome survivors of all genders and their pets.
Our challenge is how to rapidly rehouse our families into permanent housing within the community after their stay in BrightHouse.
Bright Future Foundation, recently named “Organization of the Year” by the Vail Valley Partnership, is challenged to meet the needs of survivors impacted by the burgeoning cost of living and the housing shortage in our community. According to the state of Colorado Housing Research Report published in November 2021, Eagle County community members are facing one of the largest gaps between income and rent in the state.
“Rents rose much faster than incomes in every Colorado county and city with 50,000-plus residents,” the report stated. “The gaps in income and rent increases were the worst in Eagle County where rent increases were double income increases.”
The housing shortage in Eagle County is severely limiting options for survivors in our community. In the last year, over 55% of the survivors seeking housing support needed assistance to avoid homelessness and/or to obtain safe, secure housing. In addition, 91% of the participating survivors reported difficulty managing rent and struggling with bills and debt.
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Our housing navigation and stabilization services have been integral in helping survivors successfully transition from BrightHouse into safe, permanent housing within the community. During the 2021 program year, Bright Future Foundation served 180 survivors and their children with over 10,000 nights of safe housing.
Bright Future Foundation prioritizes partnerships to support survivors to overcome this barrier. Bright Future Foundation and Vail Resorts share the belief that individuals and families are positioned to thrive in a home that is safe and permanent. Since 2009, Vail Resorts and EpicPromise have provided support that directly impacts local survivors of domestic violence and their ability to obtain stable and safe housing. Without this support, we wouldn’t be able to provide these types of services.
Due to the generosity of our many supporters, in 2021 Bright Future Foundation assisted over 875 survivors of violence with comprehensive, wrap-around services including crisis intervention, comprehensive case management, legal consultation, and behavioral health counseling. Crisis hotline advocates have responded to over 430 calls.
Our organization is proud that over 95% of the survivors we serve in our housing programs remain in safe, permanent housing after 12 months. Additionally, Bright Future Foundation’s youth advocacy team delivered a hot spot mapping curriculum to over 550 youth in seven Eagle County schools. And Buddy Mentors connected over 60 at-risk youths with caring and trusting adults through more than 2,500 program hours.
Sheri Mintz is the chief executive officer of Bright Future Foundation. To learn more, go to MyBrightFuture.org.