Durango’s domestic violence shelter, the Volunteers of America Southwest Safehouse, experienced a steep increase in the number of people served in 2017.
The Safehouse is a secure, hidden shelter that serves women who are victims of domestic violence and their children.
The nonprofit served 341 adults and children in 2017, a 38 percent increase compared with 2016, said Rachel Bauske Frasure, Volunteers of America division director, in an email to The Durango Herald.
In the first 10 months of 2018, the Southwest Safehouse provided shelter to 220 families and individuals, and it is unlikely the number of clients served this year will exceed 2017 totals, she said.
It is not clear why the Safehouse saw a large increase in clients in 2017, she said.
“We do get these big ebbs and flows,” she said.
The Safehouse does not have any plans for expansion because it does not have the available funding, Bauske Frasure said. The Safehouse could be seeing more referrals from other organizations it works closely with such as Axis Health System, Southwest Center for Independence, Alternative Horizons and others, she said.
The Safehouse typically serves a high percentage of people from outside the community because those fleeing domestic violence want to get as far away as possible from the person who is abusing them, Bauske Frasure said.
In 2017, 76 of the Safehouse’s 341 clients identified as residents of the city of Durango, she said.
The Safehouse has also seen an increase in clients with physical disabilities, mental health issues, behavioral health concerns and substance abuse problems. It is a trend the Durango Community Shelter is also experiencing.
In 2017, 75 percent of the Southwest Safehouse population experienced one or more those major health concerns, Bauske Frasure said.