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Building Futures by Meeting Needs Today

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Dakota Sandras

In 1943 the psychologist Abraham Maslow proposed a hierarchy of human needs. At the base of the pyramid are physiological needs such as food, water, and sleep. The next layer of the pyramid is safety, and includes health, shelter, and family. The theory is that if a layer of the pyramid is not stable, then any of the needs above it cannot be filled until the lower, more pressing needs are satisfied.

Unfortunately nearly one in four women in the United States cannot build their futures because they are missing the foundational second block: the need for safety. Crossroads Safehouse of Fort Collins is dedicated to filling that void so that victims of domestic violence don¹t have to live their lives worrying about meeting basic needs, but can move on to pursue joys such as love, confidence, and creativity, while they are at Crossroads and beyond.

Established in 1980, Crossroads Safehouse has provided shelter and support for an average of 42 abuse victims per night for over 30 years. Long housed in downtown Fort Collins, in 2010 Crossroads decided it was time to expand.

Though the organization was generously gifted an out-of-commission nursing home, creating a safe, welcoming, and warm environment took some work. In 2010, El Pomar contributed $25,000 in order to help the safehouse reach its full potential.

Today, Crossroads serves 104 residents each night, about half of whom are children. The building is divided into four “neighborhoods” to provide residents a smaller community feel that fosters supportive relationships between residents. In addition to family-sized rooms, Crossroads provides families with access to a kitchen, a food pantry, a storeroom of donated clothing, adult and children¹s libraries, and rooms for support groups. Advocacy centers are located throughout the building where residents can take advantage of legal consultation, immigration support, counseling, and other services. In addition, Crossroads has established valuable partnerships that result in free medical care for the residents.

Perhaps most important of all is the increased physical safety the new facility provides. Unlike the previous shelter, which was protected only by a simple identification system and a camera, the new safehouse is a highly secure facility with bulletproof walls and a stringent process for entry.

Currently, Crossroads is working on developing its transitional housing program that will situate victims in secure housing outside of the safehouse once they leave. They know what they are doing is valuable when they hear residents say things like, ”I want people to know a girl and her baby were saved because of this place.” But Crossroads does not want the foundational need of safety that it provides to be temporary. The goal is to help residents heal and recover and then guide them to a place of independently being able to keep their basic needs met. That way, everyone that comes through the safehouse will leave with a stable foundation allowing them to build upwards.