Women and children fleeing domestic violence recently returned to a fully-renovated, 20 bed domestic violence shelter run by Building Futures with Women and Children. The San Leandro facility—Sister Me Home—is one of only five “safe houses” in Alameda County, and serves 175-200 women and children each year.
“Sister Me Home plays a key role in our services for women and children who have survived domestic violence,” says Building Futures’ Executive Director Liz Varela. These programs include free and confidential support groups, a domestic violence counselor training, awareness and prevention presentations, and a 24-hour crisis phone line: 1-866-A-WAY-OUT. In addition, the agency provides housing assistance to help ensure survivors are safely housed.
San Leandro Mayor Stephen Cassidy recently toured the renovated shelter. “Building Futures and their team on the project did a fantastic job,” he comments. “The house, garden and backyard structures are beautiful, providing a warm and welcoming environment for women and their children to be safe and heal their physical and emotional wounds.”
In 1995, Building Futures with Women and Children opened Sister Me Home to provide those fleeing abuse with shelter, case management, counseling, children’s programming, and other essential services. The renovation project addressed long-overdue repairs and upgrades to a home that was not designed for heavy use. The result of the rehab is a welcoming and far more durable “new” home, which will serve its residents for many years.
The rehab also provided an additional bathroom, and widened common rooms and backyard deck for greater appeal and ease of movement; the shelter is now fully accessible to disabled residents. Capital funds for the $700,000 project were provided by the City of San Leandro, Alameda County’s Department of Housing and Community Development, California Governor's Office of Emergency Services, and the state’s Emergency Housing and Assistance Program's Capital Development Program.
Ms. Varela added that Building Futures is also grateful to the many individuals and groups that helped restock Sister Me Home with household items and bedding. “It is so important for Sister Me Home residents to see how their neighbors have reached out to help. Having a safe and welcoming place to start again is only possible when the community cares.”