By Rikki King Herald Writer
EVERETT — In a place that exists because of suffering, the walls exude warmth.
Domestic Violence Services of Snohomish County is set to open a new 52-bed shelter next week at a former military site in north Everett. The shelter is the culmination of seven years of hard work, planning and donations from people in the community, said Vicci Hilty, Domestic Violence Services’ executive director. They raised more than $4 million to renovate the space.
The three-acre property, worth another $4 million, was designated as federal surplus in 2012. The site now houses an administrative office and a former gymnasium converted into a two-story shelter.
“We really wanted to change that military style and make it into a place that was comforting and cheerful but mostly comforting,” Hilty said.
On Friday, the smell of fresh paint still lingered. The colors were chosen with care: purples, grays, greens and yellows, Hilty said.
“It was mainly about feeling safe, warm, happy,” she said.
The sleeping rooms have windows, bunk beds and private full bathrooms. Each bed is draped in a homemade quilt donated by women from Faith Lutheran Church in Everett.
The Boeing Employees Community Fund contributed industrial-size kitchen appliances, including a refrigerator, freezer, oven and dishwasher. The local EverTrust Foundation gave dining room tables and chairs.
There also is a teen room, a children’s room and a computer room.
They wanted to create spaces where families could be together, Hilty said. Some of the bedrooms share private inner doors so larger families can take up two rooms if needed. There are downstairs rooms for people with physical limitations.
Roughly 300 people attended a ribbon-cutting earlier this week, including U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Everett, Snohomish County Executive John Lovick and Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson.
Many people involved in the project left some kind of permanent mark on the space, Hilty said.
Work continues at the site. Two small play-equipment areas are planned in the back yard for little kids and big kids. The Rotary Club of Marysville is donating a garden bench.
A standalone garage is being converted into a youth center. That project was possible only after a $75,000 donation from BDA, Inc., of Woodinville, Hilty said. A BDA employee, Susan Brockert, was murdered by her partner during a company trip in 2011. She was 44. Brockert will be the namesake for the Susan’s Youth Center. Some of her relatives attended the ribbon-cutting at the shelter, Hilty said.
In the past year, the old shelter has served nearly 200 people and had to turn away more than 900 families, Hilty said. The old building has 15 beds.
On Friday, a donated teddy bear sat on top of each new quilt on each new bed.
“There was so much love put into this place from the beginning,” Hilty said. “The dream started seven years ago, and people just never gave up.”
Rikki King: 425-339-3449, firstname.lastname@example.org.
To protect victims from abusers, Domestic Violence Services asks that exact locations of the current and proposed shelters not be disclosed.
If you or someone you know needs help regarding domestic violence, contact the Domestic Violence Services of Snohomish County hotline at 425-25-ABUSE, or 425-252-2873. The hotline is free and confidential, and advocates can help with safety plans. Friends, families and colleagues of victims also are encouraged to call.