NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – A Northampton organization dedicated to assisting domestic abuse survivors has announced a major change to its programming.
Safe Passage has made a bold decision to discontinue its emergency shelter program. The announcement was made on Tuesday, stating that maintaining the shelter, which could house six families max, was “no longer a viable option.”
Executive Director Marianne Winters tells 22News, safety is about a lot more than location, and the discontinuation of the shelter opens up resources to help survivors in a different way. “We will always maintain the availability and ability to assist people in that highly dangerous crisis moment of severe crisis or potential homicide, that doesn’t go away. But what we’re going to enhance is our outreach and community connections, so that if we meet people earlier in that escalation of violence, they’ll be able to draw on more resources.”
Winters explained that when emergency shelters were first developed over 45 years ago, stays were usually not needed for more than 90 days. That has since changed, Winters said, due to lack of affordable housing.
Those in need of emergency shelter can call the SafeLink hotline 1 (877) 785-2020 to learn about shelter options across the state.