Safe house looks to reopen

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After abruptly closing their doors in March, a local safe house is fundraising in an effort to reopen their doors.

The Lilah Smith Safe House was closed earlier this year after a press release was circulated from the Crisis Center of West Texas citing staffing turnover and distance from the administrative offices in Odessa.

Organizers say that they have the staffing in place for when the shelter reopens.

The shelter was only open for two years. Organizers are hoping to reopen as an independent shelter with the help of fundraising.

“We were released without notice too late in the grant cycle,” said former employee and current fundraiser Erica Gonzalez.

They have started writing for the fall grants, but they want to ensure they have enough money before reopening.

To run the shelter for one year would cost about $300,675. They currently have around $150,000 in the bank.

The safe house has four bedrooms with an individual bathroom in each room.

The safe house will be run by First Response Ministries and Dorman Herman.

In addition to be a safe place for them to lay their heads, the shelter will also offer support groups for the residents and counseling.

“A lot of people say 'oh that doesn't happen in Fort Stockton,' but yes it does more than you would imagine,” Gonzalez said.

The five advocates, Norma Sanchez, Violeta Sanchez, Ineke Graham, Brandi Granillo and Gonzalez have worked for the shelter in the past and are now hard at work fundraising to be able to help people once again.

While waiting for grants, former employees are hosting various fundraisers including the farmers market.

“I thought it would be a good idea to get out and let people know we are still here,” said Gonzalez.

They have a co-ed softball tournament scheduled for later this month, with Roxanne Ramirez hosting.

To participate call (432) 360-5106.

The shelter is looking to furnish the rooms with bunkbeds so they can take in more victims. The bunk beds with mattresses will run about $300 a piece.

They also plan to have a booth at the city's Fourth of July event.

Donations may also be mailed to P.O. Box 575 Fort Stockton, TX 79735.

“Most importantly we would like to thank the community for their support,” said Gonzalez. “Especially those who have contacted us and asked what they can do for us, asked to have a fundraiser for us, and have taken time out of their busy schedules to help set up for fundraisers and distribute flyers around town.”

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