SAFE breaks ground on shelter expansion

Supporters of Abuse Free Environments (SAFE) broke ground on a shelter expansion project on Friday, doubling the emergency shelter space and increasing the program spaces to help survivors of domestic and intimate partner abuse.

Executive Director Stacey Umhey started her employment at SAFE in 1997 just before the current facility was built.

She’s seen the need expand.

“We’re here and we’re getting ready to build [again] because our community has called us to do so,” Umhey said. “This wasn’t our choice. We don’t want to build this but we need to do this. Our community called on us to do this and our community stepped up to make it happen. The City of Hamilton made this happen, the state of Montana made this happen. Our board members, our volunteers, our community members and survivors made this happen. Thank you for that.”

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A woman reads the names inscribed on cutouts representing women in Montana who have lost their lives to domestic violence at the groundbreaking for SAFE’s emergency shelter expansion in Hamilton on Friday, Sept. 15.

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