Arlington-based Doorways for Women and Families is seeking donations to help renovate its 11-bed domestic violence safe house.
“The safe house is our facility for people who are in immediate danger,” said Heather O’Malley, development director at the organization. “We are pretty much always at full occupancy.”
The nonprofit helps people in the community who are homeless and/or victims of domestic violence. The group runs two shelters, the safe house and a 21-bed facility, O’Malley said.
The safe house, which from the outside appears to be a single-family home and is in an undisclosed location in Arlington, was built in 1957 and was converted into a safe house in the 1980s.
“We’ve converted it through many band-aid fixes throughout the years, but we needed a wider scale renovation,” O’Malley said.
That's where HomeAid Northern Virginia comes in. HomeAid is the charitable branch of the Northern Virginia Building Industry Association, which partners builders and nonprofits to conduct major renovations to homeless shelters and other facilities, according to the organization’s website.
Each HomeAid project requires a captain, and Yuri Sagatov volunteered to take the lead. His company, Sagatov Associates is based in Falls Church and conducts business in Arlington.
"It helps out families and young kids that need a safe place to be," Sagatov said. "It’s a valuable resource to have in the community."
He is donating his time to organize the project and manage construction. Renovations include updating the home’s electrical and security systems.
"The home is a place where women and families need to escape from violent situations, so as you can imagine security is very important," Sagatov said. "What we are going to be doing is bringing them up to today’s standards."
The total cost for the project will be upward of $100,000. Doorways officials are hoping that the costs will be covered primarily through donations instead of the organization’s operating budget. Construction is set to start early next year.
"My dream would be to have it entirely paid by donations," O’Malley said. "Because money that we’ve earmarked for this could go directly to our clients and help people moving out of shelters into apartments."
Last year, the group sheltered 67 women and children and responded to more than 1,455 calls.
To find out more about Doorways or to donate time or money toward the safe house renovation, visit the organization’s website.