MITCHELL, S.D. (KELO) – The Mitchell Area Safe House has received a grant for just over $2 million two that will allow them to build a bigger facility for their clients.
The current Mitchell Area Safe House building is only eight thousand square feet with seven bedrooms. But the COVID-19 pandemic has brought in more clients to both the family visitation center and shelter, so the facility is ready for more room.
“It’s really brought to light that we need bigger space, we need to be able to handle more families in that regard, so that’s been a lot busier,” Nancy Wietgrefe, executive director of the Mitchell Area Safe House said. “We’ve seen human trafficking cases more than what we have in the past. When COVID, when everything kind of reopened in May of last year, we had five sexual assault cases in the month of May where as all of last year we had six.”
Soon the shelter for domestic abuse victims will get that much-needed space thanks to a $2.02 million dollar grant awarded to them by the Governor’s Office of Economic Development.
“It’s something that we wanted to do, we just, this kind of jump-started us to get it done now while the money is available,” Wietgrefe said. “It’s really going to be great to open it up to clients and let them be proud to stay with us and know that it’s a top-notch facility.”
The new building is planned to be over 17,000 square feet with 10 bedrooms.
“We also have the family visitation center and we’re adding two additional rooms to what we already have,” Ashley Hobbs, development director of the Mitchell Area Safe House, said. “So those will be able to have more space and more logistically sound and a non-custodial and custodial entrance, we currently don’t have.”
The entire project will be close to $5 million, meaning donations are also needed.
“We have great community support so we’re anticipating and hoping that that will continue with this project,” Wietgrefe said. “But it’s definitely going to be a group effort. It’s going to be the community’s safe house, it’s not just going to be ours.”
The new building plans will have to go through a few more final approvals with the hope to start bidding for a contractor in early 2022. Once that’s done, they’ll have eighteen months to complete the building.