Victims of domestic violence in the Central Valley have lost a secret safe place to go

REEDLEY, Calif. (KFSN) -- The inside of a Marjaree Mason Center Safe House has been a welcome sight for hundreds of families over the years in Fresno, Clovis, and Reedley. But after 12 years of hiding survivors in eastern Fresno County, they have closed the Reedley Safe House after losing a specific type of federal funding.

"Over the last several years, HUD has really transitioned into more permanent housing. So this is the last year we were able to receive funding for the transitional funding in the Reedley facility," said Nicole Linder, Marjaree Mason Center.

Reedley Police Chief Joe Garza said the house was always occupied and was a great place for domestic violence survivors. And while its closure reduces the resources available to victims, it actually won't affect the ones who live in Reedley.

"Marjaree Mason would place people in that home to have them get away from their abuser, and so any domestic violence survivors from Reedley would never be put in that home."

Marjaree Mason still has a representative in the Mennonite Center in Downtown Reedley for now.

They're planning to open a new, bigger office to help survivors find programs for education, independent living, and even confidential teleconferencing to fill out courthouse paperwork like restraining orders.

The goal is to provide more permanent housing and more permanent solutions to break the cycle of domestic violence.

"Many people suffer from effects long into the future, and so this program really is to help the family stabilize long term," said Linder.

The need is huge in this community. The District Attorney's Office tells me they filed more than 2,400 new domestic violence cases last year and another 2,100 so far this year.

Full HUD response:

To clarify, we continue to fund the Marjaree Mason Center through HUD's Continuum of Care Homeless Assistance Program. This past funding cycle was the first in which HUD was allocated fewer resources than what was required to renew all existing grants. As a result, all HUD-funded communities were required to rank each of their programs in order of priority. Needless to say, Fresno along with communities across the country, had to make very difficult decisions when structuring their last application. Contrary to what has been reported, however, these changes have been in the works for a number of years now. The good news in this case is that, even despite the overall cut in funding, Fresno was able to secure a number of new grants. Among those was a planning grant that now supports Fresno's effort to better serve all their clients, including those impacted by the latest cuts in funding.
Copyright © 2021 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.