by Emily Buckley, editor in chief

For individuals and families escaping abuse, a safe home is important to the healing process. Yet, for individuals leaving an abusive home, finding low cost/affordable housing continues to be the most significant barrier to starting a life free from abuse.

“A basic need we all have is a safe home, a safe place to go at the end of the day, a safe place to recharge and regroup, a safe place for our children to learn and grow,” Jill Anderson, CAPSA’s executive director said. 

This is why CAPSA (Community Abuse Prevention Service Agency), a nonprofit domestic violence support center serving Cache and Rich counties, offers multiple housing programs for their clients. Each year CAPSA provides support to more than 1,500 women, men, and children escaping abuse and starting new lives. 

CAPSA’s Transitional Housing Program, which started in 2005, is a two-year program which includes housing subsidies coupled with advocacy and educational programming. The program focuses on developing independence by reducing housing expense and assisting clients as they work toward a life asset such as a down payment on a home or an education.

Dell Loy Hansen, Jill Anderson, Keri Hansen Hale visit and inspect Independence Way.

CAPSA’s housing caseworkers help clients find housing and supports them during this transition — this may include short-term assistance or housing subsidize for up to two-years. This program is successful at helping families start new lives free from abuse.

Due to a shortage of affordable housing, and for clients who would not qualify for standard housing, CAPSA saw a need to own dedicated housing for clients.

“What we found was that many survivors would come into our shelter, but without housing support they would get trapped in a downward spiral of high rent and low income. Many would return to an abuser or end up in similar circumstances,” Jill said. 

CAPSA began construction on Independence Place, a planned unit development owned and managed by CAPSA, in 2010. Built on CAPSA campus, this neighborhood has nine homes, a playground, park, and community gardens. Due to limited funding, CAPSA was initially only able to complete the site development and build two of the nine planned homes.

In 2014 representatives met with Dell Loy Hansen and shared their vision for Independence Place. “Immediately he saw the need and vision of this project and committed to raising the remaining funds,” Scott Stettler, a 10-year CAPSA board member and CFO of Wasatch Properties, said. “Dell Loy gathered the leaders of Wasatch Properties, and by the end of that meeting he had raised the funds and a plan to complete the remaining seven homes.” 

Less than one year later, Independence Place was completed. 

An aerial view of Independence Way.

Still, the need for additional housing continued to grow and in 2019 CAPSA leaders met with Dell Loy again, sharing an opportunity to purchase a site to build a second neighborhood, Independence Way. He committed to help raise the funds for the project. However, he realized that the neighborhood would take at least two years to complete. Knowing there was an immediate need, Dell Loy suggested purchasing and renovating a fourplex for CAPSA.

The Dell Loy Hansen Family Foundation focuses on supporting well-developed programs that affirm the dignity of individuals and ensure these programs remain sustainable. “We have partnered with CAPSA for many years because CAPSA is among the best in the state of Utah and their housing program is a national model for transitional housing programs,” Keri Hansen Hale, director of charitable giving for the Dell Loy Hansen Family Foundation, said. 

As the COVID crisis began to unfold, CAPSA saw record requests for their services and shelter needs. At the same time, CAPSA had to reduce shelter capacity for social distancing. With the fourplex renovation still a few months from completion, Dell Loy again saw the need and solution. 

“He instructed the contractors to work around the clock to complete the units, no matter the cost,” Keri said. “It was important to him that families displaced by abuse had a safe place with CAPSA.”

Because of the support of Dell Loy Hansen, his Family Foundation, and his leadership in fundraising, Independence Way will open this month with five new, three-bedroom homes, increasing CAPSA’s transitional housing units to 21 homes. 

“Dell Loy cares about CAPSA. He cares about this community. His compassion for marginalized individuals and groups is seen in his support of CAPSA and across Utah in thousands of nonprofits and charitable projects he supports,” Jill said. “Few see the breadth of Dell Loy’s philanthropic support because he discourages attention, yet almost everyone in Utah has benefited from it.”

YOU TOO CAN HELP CAPSA SERVE ABUSE VICTIMS IN CACHE VALLEY!

CAPSA relies on the support of generous donors to provide lifesaving support services. You can donate online at CAPSA.org/give-help.

If you are a victim of abuse and are in need of CAPSA’s resources, call their 24-hour crisis support line at (435) 753-2500, or visit capsa.org.