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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

For the week of December 11 - 17, 2002


Hailey safe house to expand operations

The Advocates takes over 
Croy Street cottage

"We’re a little overwhelmed right now. The more people hear about us, the more we’re used."

— BROOKE BONNER, The Advocates’ client services manager

Express Staff Writer

A Hailey-based shelter for victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse is expanding its operations, in part to accommodate a surge in the number of clients using its services.

Hailey Planning and Zoning commissioners on Dec. 3 unanimously voted to grant permission to the nonprofit group The Advocates to utilize a cottage at 112 Croy St. as an office building, counseling center and shelter.

The organization—which is technically called The Advocates for Survivors of Domestic Violence—purchased the cottage to expand its operations. The group since December 1999 has based its operations and services in a five-bedroom, four-bathroom house on an adjacent Croy Street property.

The group has used its facility to offer a long list of services to female victims of domestic violence and their children. The primary service provided is the provision of shelter and counseling to victims, but the organization also offers counseling and educational programs to the general public.

Statistics compiled by The Advocates noted that the organization typically provides services to more than 300 women and 100 children each year. In 2001, 53 women stayed in the shelter for a total of 963 nights, and 41 children were sheltered with their mothers for a total of 858 nights.

Representatives of the organization told P&Z commissioners they plan to base their administrative offices and community-education programs in the Croy Street cottage. In addition, the organization would use the cottage as a supplementary shelter that would be reserved for a mother with male children older than 13. Families with older male children are not typically mixed with other victims at the shelter.

The cottage is located in the city’s General Residential district. The zoning allows safe houses and certain other semi-public uses with the issuance of a city Conditional Use Permit.

Project representative Debra Kronenberg told commissioners that the organization has housed 153 women and 130 children since December 1999. She noted that the existing facility has never been filled to its nightly capacity of 20 people, but the organization in the last year has declined shelter to eight families with adolescent male children because no separate housing facility was available.

Tricia Swartling, executive director of The Advocates, said that by relocating its support group meetings and educational programs to the 122 Croy Street location, the organization would be able to better maintain the confidentiality of its clients residing in the shelter.

Two letters from residents of West Croy Street were submitted to the P&Z in response to the nonprofit’s application to expand its operations.

Neighborhood residents Patrick and Karen Simpson said they objected to the plan, primarily because the existing facility maintained by The Advocates generated too much noise. They said "children are allowed to scream at the top of their lungs" and "dogs are allowed to bark all night."

West Croy Street resident Tim East said he did not object to the proposal if certain conditions governed the operations.

Commissioners acted quickly to approve the application, noting that they believed the services provided a significant benefit to the community.

Indeed, community use of the services and facilities offered by The Advocates is on the rise. The organization reports that use of its shelter this year has increased 29 percent over 2001. The total number of clients served by the organization increased by a similar amount.

Brooke Bonner, The Advocates’ client services manager, said much of the increase is due to more awareness of the organization’s existence on the part of the local Hispanic population. She said domestic abuse is no more prevalent among that group than others, but that Hispanic women have been reluctant to make use of the Advocates’ services. She said the number of Hispanic clients has particularly increased since the hiring of a Peruvian woman, trained as a psychologist.

"We’re a little overwhelmed right now," Bonner said. "The more people hear about us, the more we’re used."


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