Monday, 17 June 2024

Lake Family Resource Center closes escrow on Freedom House shelter location

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The new nonconfidential shelter will be located on Main Street in Kelseyville. Photo by Harold LaBonte.
 

 

 




KELSEYVILLE – After three years of planning, hard work and more than a few anxious moments, Lake County has a new domestic violence shelter facility.


On Thursday morning, the deed was recorded on the new Freedom House shelter, operated by Lake Family Resource Center. Escrow closed on Tuesday.


The new, nonconfidential facility will be located at 5350 Main St. in Kelseyville, said Lake Family Resource Center Executive Director Gloria Flaherty.


“The whole idea of having a nonconfidential location is really that it is owned and protected by the community,” Flaherty explained.


The property, now being run as a motel, includes 8,500 square feet of space, including a manager's unit, which will be used for Lake Family Resource Center's administrative offices, and motel units, which will be housing for families that have left violent situations, said Flaherty.


In addition, Flaherty said other program services – including counseling and parenting classes – will be located there.


The purchase price for the property was $1.1 million, said Flaherty.

 

 

 

 

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Lake Family Resource Center staffers and board members along with center Executive Director Gloria Flaherty (far right) gather at Fidelity Title in Lakeport on Tuesday, July 21, 2009, to sign the escrow papers for the new Freedom House domestic violence shelter property in Kelseyville. Photo by Harold LaBonte.
 

 

 

 


Since the effort to build a new shelter began about three years ago, Flaherty said her organization has raised about $1.3 million, including $175,000 from the county of Lake and a $1 million loan from the state's Emergency Housing Assistance Program, which will be forgiven in 10 years if the property still is being used as a shelter.


Another $100,000 came from the Snite Foundation, which was facilitated by the Lake County Foundation, Flaherty said, Funds also came from the group's annual Wine and Chocolate event and from a series of fundraisers conducted by local artist Gail Salituri.


“It has been quite a journey,” said Flaherty.


Originally, the plans called for building a new facility on property at the corner of Live Oak and Highway 29. Lake Family Resource Center holds a 50-year lease on the land from Sutter Lakeside Hospital, which rents it to the center for $1 a month.


However, the difficult economy provided an opportunity to purchase buildings at a third of the price of what new construction would have cost, said Flaherty.


“We seized the day,” she said.


Flaherty said they received a call from the person who owned the property, proposing it as their new location. She said she went to look it over and realized it would work. Then the owner lost it to foreclosure. However, the person who had financed the building contacted them and the effort moved forward.


With Gary Olson of Big Valley Properties acting as Lake Family Resource Center's real estate agent, Flaherty said they made an offer in February that was accepted. The terms of the agreement called for a 90-day escrow with two 30-day extensions, so the deal had to be completed by this Saturday, July 25.


“There were a few anxious moments, let me tell you,” said Flaherty.


With the money left over after the sale, Flaherty said they will install alarms, cameras and a new phone system, increase the size of the kitchen, improve the laundry facilities and do some other remodeling.


“We will be working with all local contractors,” she said.


They'll put out an announcement seeking different kinds of services; Flaherty said they want it to be a community project.


In August or September they'll move their administrative offices from the current location on Lakeport Boulevard at the Vista Point Shopping Center. Flaherty said they spend $9,000 a month in rent there, and will cut that amount in half by moving to the new facility.


The domestic violence shelter itself isn't scheduled to relocate to the Kelseyville location until October, she said.


The center's child care services will remain on Lakeport Boulevard. Flaherty said another small office will be rented in Kelseyville. They also have applied for grants for a new and expanded child development center on the lease property at Live Oak and Highway 29.


Flaherty said the center will put together a community wish list for certain items, including sturdy furniture for the shelter facility. “We need things that are really going to stand the test of time and hard use,” she said.


At some point in the future there also will be a grand opening celebration to invite the community to come and see what it helped make possible, said Flaherty.


Most shelter campaigns such as this one take between three and five years, so Flaherty said she thinks the local effort moved quickly.


“In Lake County, when things are supposed to happen, they do,” she said.


Flaherty credited many people in the community for standing up to support the shelter – from the supervisors to the Lake County Community Development Department, the Lake County Foundation, Olson, Salituri and many others.


She noted that the thousands of dollars donated from the drawing's held by Salituri – who worked hard to raise awareness for the shelter project – will be used in the children's playroom.


The shelter will have 35 beds – not counting futons and foldouts – said Flaherty.


That's bigger than the 18 beds that Flaherty said the current shelter offers.


The increased number of beds is more needed than ever. The shelter currently has 31 residents, including 17 children, of which 12 are under age 6, said Flaherty.


Flaherty said of the shelter's residency rate, “In the last two years it has just skyrocketed,” going from an average of 10 people to now more than 20.


As the shelter's good news sinks in, Flaherty and Lake Family Resource Center are waiting to see the results of the state budget. The Legislature began voting on a reported 31 budget bills Thursday evening.


“The cuts that we're taking appear to be draconian,” said Flaherty.


The center already has had to lay off numerous staffers whose positions were funded by state money – including teen pregnancy prevention and parenting.


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

 

 

 

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The property also will house Lake Family Resource Center's administrative offices and other services. Photo by Harold LaBonte.
 

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