A house intended to shelter abused women and children experienced its own renewal and renovation lately, thanks to a team of builders, fundraisers and caregivers.
The Santa Clarita Valley domestic violence shelter has expanded and reopened after a joint effort by Pardee Homes, and HomeAid Los Angeles/Ventura. Donations of goods and services came from several local building trade companies poured in for “Clara’s Dream” – a tribute to Clara Stroup, the founder of the SCV Domestic Violence group- and a safe haven for women fleeing violent domestic situations.
Pam Braly, the center’s Executive Director, said that of the 700 calls received last year on their hotline, half of the callers needed immediate shelter. She was grateful and often choked back tears as she spoke Friday morning at a gathering of key players – officials from Pardee and HomeAid, along with Councilwoman Laurene Weste, who helped with fundraising and networking and representatives of Assemblyman Cameron Smyth, who resisted legislative efforts to eliminate funding for domestic violence programs.
“You don’t know what this means to us,” Braly said. “Our women and our children now will have a more beautiful place in which to start their journey out of the shadow and into the light.”
Weste related that the domestic violence issue struck close to her heart, having lost a friend whose husband killed her when she returned home after seeking help.
“Today marks a great beginning for literally thousands of lives. There was a time in Santa Clarita when there was no shelter, I can remember that time. If you were lucky, somebody took you into their house. If they were lucky, the guy who was beating the wife and children didn’t break into their house and beat them too.”
She related a field trip to the house before its renovation, calling the shelter house a “disaster” with “a lot of code issues and a lot of energy issues” included in the things that needed to be fixed on the house.
“America is built by dedicated men and women; their profession and goals are to build roads and bridges and houses. Most of us don’t build our own houses, if we want a home, that gets done by professionals.
“They took a pig and turned it into a pearl,” she continued, gesturing at pictures of the renewed interiors. “The house today, when you walk into it, any one of you would be proud to live in it. To the credit of Home Aid and BIA (Building Industry Association), I am proud to be able to connect you. This would never have happened, you could never have piecemealed this over time. When there is a problem, we work as a team and we get it done.”
“Since 1990, HomeAid of Los Angeles and Venture has contributed millions of dollars in building or renovating shelters all across the region,” said Joyce Mason, HomeAid board president and Pardee Homes vide president of marketing. “Today, we celebrate another effort that will help the victims of domestic violence rebuild their lives, reclaim their self-sufficiency and rediscover their future.”
Since it opened the shelter more than 20 years ago, the Domestic Violence Center was unable to make desired improvements to better accommodate families or improve the facilities overall operation. A fund-raising effort launched in March 2011 garnered nearly $38,000. As a HomeAid project, the renovation was managed by professional builders and enhanced through donations by subcontractors. The renovation, valued at more than $50,000, included a room expansion, new roof, new cement pads around the outside of the house, new carpeting and electrical fixtures, new closet fixtures, better insulation, new kitchen appliances, painting, new windows and more. The work also accommodated an additional bed.
While the house is completely up to code and offers women and children a safe, welcoming atmosphere, the Center still has a wish list. Donations may be made by contacting Braly at www.domesticviolencecenterscv.org.
Wish List (items needed most are asterisked)
* *Grocery stores
* *Gas cards
* *Department stores
* *Costco, Target, Sams Club
* *National calling cards
* Bus passes
* Bathroom deodorizer
* *Dishwashing Detergent
* *Lysol kitchen cleaner or Formula 409
* *Lysol cleaning wipes
* *Dryer sheets/liquid softener
* *Laundry detergent
* Kitchen towels
* *Toilet paper
* *Paper towels
* *Boxes of tissues
* Baby lotion
* Baby shampoo
* Diaper rash ointment
* Diaper bags
* DVDs of children and adult movies
* Portable stereo
* *LCD TV
* New pillows
* New twin size comforters
* Long rectangle/Oval table cloths
* CFL light bulbs
* *Rubbermaid food storage
* *Glasses and mugs
* *New set of dishes, setting for 8
* Clear plastic storage boxes
* Batteries: AA, AAA, D
* Toddler foldable/umbrella stroller
* Printer paper
* Filing folders (letter size)
* Office supply store gift cards
* Legal size envelopes
* *All-in-one printer
* *4-drawer lateral file cabinet
* *Paper shredder
* *Brochure holder
* File storage boxes, heavy duty
* Tylenol (child and adult)
* Digital ear thermometer
* Cold medicine – all ages
* Humidifier (hot and cold)