The City of Austin has enacted a stay-at-home order to slow the spread of COVID-19 — but home isn’t a safe space for everyone.
The SAFE Alliance, which aids survivors of domestic violence or abuse, has seen a significant increase in calls to its help hotline amid the coronavirus pandemic, said SAFE’s co-CEO Kelly White in a conversation with Austin Mayor Steve Adler streamed on Facebook on Tuesday night.
Watch their conversation below:
“Specifically during this pandemic what we are seeing is it’s not always safe to shelter at home,” White said. “So we want to help people be safe.”
SAFE operates a children’s shelter and a family shelter, both of which are remaining open during the pandemic.
The organization has a 24/7 SAFEline where people can call, text or chat online with a trained advocate. It also offers parenting support, which has moved to a virtual format during the pandemic.
“We’re doing lots and lots of parenting support,” White said. “It’s a tough time for all families, and so we are trying really hard to help families make it through this tough time.”
White gave tips Tuesday night on how to help and get help. She said the first thing to know is that if someone is in immediate danger, call 911, not SAFEline.
If you are concerned for yourself or someone else, you can call or chat SAFEline to talk with an advocate and develop a safety plan.
“Get in touch with us, and we will help you figure out how to get to a safe place, how to safety plan, what are the measures that we need to do so that you can be safe,” White said.
She said SAFE is looking for donations of masks during the pandemic. The organization is also seeking monetary donations, since it is paying staff members who have to work on-site taking care of children and families a differential during this time.
“They are doing the tough, tough work, and that’s costing us money,” she said. “Any kinds of donations are accepted.”
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