Funding from Dogwood Health Trust will go towards renovations of the former Blue Ridge Regional Hospital building in Mitchell County
When people think of the AMY region they picture the beautiful mountains, lush rural landscape, and friendly neighbors. Issues of domestic violence, sexual assault and abuse, and the myriad of other societal ills that unfortunately are also a part of our rural community are often overlooked. Mitchell County SafePlace is a domestic violence and sexual abuse shelter in Mitchell County serving the AMY region since 1995. The mission of SafePlace is to eliminate domestic violence and sexual abuse through education, advocacy, and crisis services. This year alone SafePlace has served over 520 people through their crisis line, emergency shelter services, and direct client assistance. Of those clients who asked for emergency shelter, it was estimated that around 40 were referred to other shelter services due to SafePlace’s shelter being at capacity.
Currently, the SafePlace shelter has three bedrooms with seven beds and three cribs, a few fold-out couches for shorter-term emergencies, and can only house one male at a time. Additionally, the security system has been updated in the past two years but there are still measures that need to be addressed for proper security for emergency housing.
Through a generous partnership with Mission Health, AMY Wellness Foundation (AMYWF) has acquired a building previously owned by Blue Ridge Regional Hospital/Mission Health that will be granted to SafePlace for their use as a new domestic violence shelter. The new space will provide much needed emergency housing for the region. This new building will not only allow SafePlace to serve the people of the AMY region with higher quality and safer services but also help to ensure that fewer people in need will have to be referred out of the county or region. “At Mission Health, our mission is to care like family. Alongside of caring for patients in our hospitals, we are humbled to provide this donation to care for other members of our community,” said Greg Lowe, President, HCA Healthcare NC Division. “We are always excited for ways in which we can reach out into the community to provide support for those in need and the donation of this property to AMY was a welcome opportunity to care for our community in a different way.”
Through a grant from Dogwood Health Trust, AMYWF will be able to support renovations to the space in order to meet safety measures and housing requirements for the shelter. Once renovated, the space will have seven bedrooms and accommodate 18 people at full capacity, including separate spaces for men and women, families, and common areas. The space will be updated with proper security measures to give clients a safe refuge while they are transitioning out of a domestic or sexual violence situation. “Once we learned that AMYWF had secured a space, we were pleased to support a renovation to provide a safe and supportive place for survivors,” said Sarah Grymes, VP of Impact – Housing at Dogwood Health Trust, an independent private foundation. “Creating new transitional housing like this shelter aligns with our housing goals, and ultimately will put those who use this shelter on the path to healthier lives.”
“This project will be monumental for SafePlace and our community. This building will provide much-needed shelter space and updated security for the individuals we serve, as well as providing SafePlace with a stable base of operations to continue our mission of eliminating domestic violence and sexual abuse in our region,” said Kellie Honeycutt, Executive Director of Mitchell County SafePlace. “I want to extend my heartfelt thanks to each organization that contributed to this project. To AMY Wellness Foundation, Dogwood Health Trust, and Mission Health, thank you all for all that you do and have done to make this project a reality,” she said.
AMYWF is equally grateful to all of the partners for their generous contributions to this project and commitment to health and wellness in our area.