40 Years of Safe & Confidential Shelter
WEAVE’s beginning — before incorporation documents were even filed — can be traced back to the need for safe shelter. Three Latina survivors who had escaped their own violent marriages offered their own homes as refuge. An informal network of other allies emerged until WEAVE’s incorporation in 1978 and the opening of the county’s first domestic violence shelter, with funding from the County of Sacramento.
Demand for safe shelter immediately outpaced capacity. The founding board members partnered with our region’s Soroptimist Clubs to build a shelter designed specifically for survivors of domestic violence, which opened in 1986. It was the first shelter built in California specifically for domestic violence survivors, and it was only the third one in the nation at that time.
By 2005, WEAVE was turning away two families for every family it could safely shelter. WEAVE leadership secured a $1 million forgivable loan from the Emergency Housing Assistance Program (EHAP) and launched a $3 million capital campaign. Thanks to the generosity of the Yocha De He Community Fund, Sutter Health, Western Health Advantage, Beth and Jim Carlsen, J.T.S. Communities, and the Slobe Family and others, the goal was reached despite the recession going on at that time.
In July 2009, the new Safehouse opened, capable of serving three times as many families. The new Safehouse was much more than a larger space. Its design was in response to what was learned about the needs of survivors. The new Safehouse opted for a quasi-communal model that allowed families their own room, where they had privacy to heal and rebuild. The 18-family suites are spread over three wings, with shared kitchens and bathrooms. The model serves more families while maintaining a home-like atmosphere. The Safehouse also includes onsite access to all needed services — case management, counseling, and life skills development. The needs of children are also met onsite, through the BT Collins Children’s Center that houses a charter school, playcare and children’s counseling.
WEAVE leveraged another $1 million forgivable loan from EHAP to build four transitional housing cottages in 2013 — the first transitional housing solely for domestic violence survivors in our county. The cottages provide for autonomy while ensuring safe housing for families who need longer to secure economic stability and permanent housing.
For our most recent stage in providing housing for survivors, we launched Open House in 2015 — a transformational model, built to respond to the unique barriers of some of the most vulnerable victims. Open House consists of seven studio apartments that provide greater safety for families who live too close to the existing Safehouse, for survivors with medical conditions not conducive to quasi-communal living, such as male and transgender survivors, and for those who can not safely leave their pets. Five of the units are for emergency housing with two units of transitional housing. Once again, a forgivable EHAP loan make the project possible. WEAVE remains the only agency in California to secure three loans which created more than $6 million in shelter infrastructure investment in our community. Today, safe shelter is made possible through an array of funders including Kaiser Permanente and Bank of America.