Newfound funding rescues Tulsa's Ann Patterson Dooley Family Safety Center
BY MIKE AVERILL World Staff Writer
Tuesday, February 05, 2013
2/05/13 at 7:32 AM
A year ago, the Ann Patterson Dooley Family Safety Center was surrounded with uncertainty.
The center, a one-stop shop for victims of domestic violence looking to escape abusive relationships, had lost a $750,000 federal grant - its primary source of funding - and had enough money to stay open only through July.
What a difference a year makes.
In February 2012 the agency broke away from Domestic Violence Intervention Services, which had provided human resources, financial and other administrative services since the center's inception in 2006, and became its own 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
Now the center has four pillars of funding, is expanding its programming and is preparing to move into a larger location, said Suzann Stewart, its director.
"We really are at a point where the world is our egg, and anything can crack out," she said.
The center was able to put together $180,000 in funding from the city of Tulsa's 2013 budget, support from foundations, donations from individuals and corporations, and a new federal grant.
The idea was that no one entity should be forced to carry the load of what is a communitywide public safety issue.
"It's not just about the Family Safety Center - it's a city issue. It's a community issue," said Maria Palacios, a board member. "This is about everybody's safety, everybody's well-being, and the whole goal is to make our community healthier and safer."
The two-year, $650,000 federal grant is being used to create the Rapid Intervention Team project, which will offer additional client safety and security by targeting the most violent offenders.
"It's a great program in that we're having more highly lethal cases coming through our doors," Stewart said.
"We're able to put special processes in place to take multiple offenders off the streets and put them in jail with higher bonds to break the cycle before you have someone who is killing a family member."
Later this year, the center will move to the Tulsa Police Department's municipal courts building.
Renovation of the 13,000-square-foot space is expected to begin in March, and the agency plans to move in about September. The new location will more than double the center's current space at 3010 S. Harvard Ave.
The center received a $667,386 Community Development Block Grant and raised an additional $137,750 to pay for the construction.
"This is a wonderful project," Stewart said.
With the move, the center will be able to increase the number of clients it can serve daily to 150 from 20.
Nine agencies will continue to have a presence at the center: DVIS/Call Rape, the Tulsa Police Department's family violence unit, the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office's family violence unit, the Tulsa County District Attorney's Office, Tulsa County District Court, Tulsa Metropolitan Ministry, RSVP CourtWatch, Safety Shepherds and YWCA Tulsa.
"The need for the collaborative services at the Family Safety Center continues to grow. We're happy to have established and nurtured the FSC partnerships since 2004," DVIS Executive Director Tracey Lyall said.
"DVIS has nine positions located at the center that are directly serving domestic violence victims and their children," Lyall said.
"We are grateful for the Tulsa Police Department, the Tulsa County District Attorney's Office and the Tulsa County District Court for their commitment to system improvement that will result in increased safety for victims."
Original Print Headline: Center rescued by new funds
Mike Averill 918-581-8489