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Home / Domestic Violence / MT / Livingston / ASPEN / News / ASPEN Retires Loan Debt for its new Safe House

ASPEN Retires Loan Debt for its new Safe House

Posted 01/27/2022

In January 2021, ASPEN put a down payment on a home to serve as its Safe House. Now, not quite 11 months later, ASPEN is able to retire that loan debt against the house. “The community really came through for us,” says Heidi Barrett, Executive Director of ASPEN, “When the organization took the leap of faith and purchased the 5-bedroom, 3-bath home I was pretty nervous about raising that kind of money. But with several large lead gifts, I started to realize how much people in the community care about the work we do and the people we serve. It really became an opportunity for the community to make an investment in a healthier and safer community.” Megan Watts, President of Opportunity Bank of Montana felt honored to be able to help ASPEN with the financing of their Safe House. “ASPEN has a wonderful reputation in this community for protecting and supporting individuals and families dealing with abuse. It is not surprising to me that ASPEN has been able to gather donations, contributions, and other support from the community to reach their goal so quickly. It’s nice to see the community recognize their day in and day out hard work,” Watts remarked. ASPEN operates the Safe House for emergency housing for individuals and family’s escaping domestic violence and in some cases sexual abuse and human trafficking. The Safe House is often the first most important step in making the decision to leave an abusive situation. Many times, not having somewhere to land is an impediment to leaving. For over 21 years ASPEN rented a 3-bedroom, one bath home at a very generous rate thanks to the church which owned the home. When Covid-19 made it difficult to house more than 3 individuals or family units, ASPEN’s board began to seriously consider purchasing a home of its own. The expense of housing individuals in hotels began to be prohibitive. A couple of years earlier the Haines family left a bequest to ASPEN in honor of Mavis Haines. This seed money was earmarked for upcoming capital projects for ASPEN. The rest of the funding came from individuals and foundations. The final push came this fall when The Kendeda Fund offered to match every gift made up to $50,000—just enough to meet the goal to retire the debt. ASPEN reached this goal and now can retire the debt and use those funds for programmatic work and to provide services to its clients. For more information on ASPEN’s programs, visit ASPEN can also be found on Facebook @ aspenlivingstonmt.