The Colusa County Board of Supervisors approved grant funding last week that would allow Karen’s House to purchase and operate a local domestic violence shelter.
“This is a very long time coming,” said Tootie Hackett, founder of Karen’s House. “We are all very excited that this is finally happening and we have started house hunting.”
The $650,000 grant will come from the county’s Community Development Block Grant Program Income fund which, as of June 30, had a balance of $1,161,451.
Of the total grant funding, $572,000 has been allocated for the building purchase, $74,500 will be used for modifications and certifications necessary for establishing the shared living facility and $3,500 has been designated for the Americans with Disabilities Act inspection and certification.
“There is a shortage of affordable housing in Colusa County making it difficult for domestic violence survivors to leave abusive situations,” said Greg Plucker, community development director. “This home would be used to house women and their children when fleeing abusive relationships until they can be placed in safe, permanent housing.”
Hackett said the organization is hoping to find a four to five bedroom home with at least two baths in the Williams area.
“I would love for the shelter to be in Williams if that can happen, but it will be in Colusa County for sure,” said Hackett.
Since Colusa County does not currently have a domestic violence shelter, Hackett said Karen’s House has been funding hotel stays for victims while trying to coordinate with other regional facilities for placement.
Karen’s House, a nonprofit organization, has been committed to building the first domestic violence program for Colusa County and advocating on behalf of domestic violence victims and their children since the 2018 death of Williams native Karen Garcia.
Garcia was reported missing Jan. 8, 2018, and found dead inside her car in a Woodland shopping center parking lot Jan. 14, 2018.
Salvador Garcia-Vaca, Garcia’s ex-boyfriend and father of her child, admitted to the kidnapping and robbery of the victim following an altercation and was sentenced to 25 years in prison in January.
Prior to Garcia’s death, the pair had a history of domestic violence and investigators believe that the altercation that resulted in Garcia’s death was a result of her efforts to leave the tumultuous relationship for good.
As the nonprofit works to bring this long-time dream to fruition, Hackett said the organization is currently seeking additional board members and volunteers to continue expanding their efforts.
They also have a paint and sip fundraising event planned for Saturday, Oct. 9. The event will take place at Granzella’s Banquet Room, 457 Seventh St. in Williams, starting at 3 p.m. Registration is $50 and includes materials and step-by-step instruction from designer Darlene Crites.
Monetary donations can also be made at https://karenshouse.org.
“We are going to need additional funds to furnish the house and get everything we need to get up and running,” said Hackett.
For more information about Karen’s House, call Hackett at 701-4310.