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Published: Monday, March 12, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

Surplus property to shelter abuse victims

EVERETT -- The federal government is surplusing a 3.1-acre Everett property so it can become an emergency shelter for domestic-violence victims and their children.
The Department of Defense no longer needs the property, a former Army Reserve Center worth an estimated $4 million.
The land and buildings are being donated to Domestic Violence Services of Snohomish County. The donation is part of a federal program that gives surplused land to social service organizations, primarily those that address homelessness.
"It's such a beautiful gift," Domestic Violence Services deputy director Vicci Hilty said. "My goodness, what a gift."
To protect victims from abusers, Domestic Violence Services asks that exact locations of the proposed shelter and the current shelter not be widely disclosed.
Domestic Violence Services provided emergency shelter to more than 200 men, women and children in the past fiscal year, Hilty said. They had to turn away nearly 1,500 other people.
They operate the only emergency, confidential shelter for victims and their children in the county, she said.
The current shelter is nearly 30 years old, Hilty said. It has 15 beds, but up to 25 people sleep there each night.
"We bring in cots. We bring in cribs. We put people on the couch," she said. "We just try to place people where we can."
The new shelter eventually could house up to 600 people a year, she said.
The group is trying to avoid construction costs, so they plan to adapt existing buildings. They plan to have a shelter, a children's center and an administration building.
The proposed shelter already has a commercial-size kitchen.
"It's a perfect facility for us, absolutely perfect," she said.
Domestic Violence Services hopes to finalize paperwork for the property sometime this summer, Hilty said. They have to wait until they have proof of ownership before they can apply for grants. They also are seeking donations.
Local groups, including Soroptimist of Everett, the Everett Clinic Foundation and the Zonta Club of Everett already have donated more than $100,000 altogether, Hilty said.
"I think people want to help and need to help because they recognize the work we do and they recognize the importance of a safe community and a safe home," she said.
For information about donating, visit www.dvs-snoco.org or call 1-425-259-2827x10. Presentations about the project are available for interested community organizations and businesses.

Rikki King: 425-339-3449; rking@heraldnet.com

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