SARC Harford County gathered to celebrate breaking ground on two projects that will provide safety and support to victims of domestic and sexual violence.

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From Left: Suzanne Korff (Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development), Eric Rebbert (Chesapeake Bank and President SARC Board of Directors, Luisa Caiazzo (SARC CEO), Steve Linkous (President and CEO of Harford Mutual Insurance Group) Barry Glassman (Harford County Executive)

On Tuesday, October 12 The Sexual Assault Spouse Abuse Resource Center, Inc. (SARC) entered into the “public phase” of its capital campaign – while at the same time celebrating breaking ground on the new Phelan Safehouse and the renovation of the existing Administrative Office – The Harford Mutual Insurance Group’s Family Center at SARC which currently houses all of SARC’s outpatient services.

Guests were joined by SARC Leadership, the SARC Board of Directors, Capital Campaign Committee, and major donors. The event was hosted by Harford Mutual Insurance Group whose support and generosity made the Harford Mutual Insurance Group’s Family Center at SARC possible.

SARC’s safehouse is dedicated to providing safe haven to victims of domestic and sexual violence. Over the years, thousands of victims and their children have found safety after fleeing highly lethal situations in their home and seeking safety from their abusers. The current 28 bed safehouse provides shelter to nearly 200 victims each year.

When construction is complete, The Phelan Safehouse will be a more trauma informed shelter that will promote an environment of healing and recovery. The new safehouse will accommodate 40 victims. Ten additional suites will be added to promote family wellness and healing, two new kitchens will be added, in addition to expanded green space, exercise room, and an outdoor play area.

The Harford Mutual Insurance Group’s Family Center at SARC will be modernized to meet the needs of the nearly 2,000 victims that seek services from SARC each year.  Enhancements include a call center for the SARC 24 Hour Helpline and expanded space for case management and counseling.

According to the CDC, economic independence is a critical factor in intimate partner violence prevention (IPV). For many people who experience intimate partner violence, the financial entanglement with an abusive partner is too convoluted to sever without an alternative source of economic support and safe housing options. The pandemic has exacerbated financial entanglement by causing increased job loss and unemployment.

SARC CEO, Luisa Caiazzo stated, “The new Phelan Safehouse has been a long-time dream for everyone at SARC. We have outgrown our space and more than that we want to provide victims and their families with a healing space where they can truly thrive. To see this vision come to life – all due to the generosity of so many is incredibly special.”

Although SARC is excited to have broken ground and have met 87% of its fundraising goal the capital campaign continues. SARC still needs to raise the final $750,000 to expand and cover additional expenses related to the renovation of The Phelan Safehouse and The Harford Mutual Insurance Group’s Family Center at SARC. To learn more about available naming opportunities and to help close this gap visit https://www.sarc-maryland.org/1980-2/

Support for the project has come from The Harford Mutual Insurance Group, Thomas Phelan, Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, Harford County Government, The Dresher Foundation, The Sunshine Lady Foundation, The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, The Greater Bel Air Community Foundation, The Friendly Inn, Mary Kay Foundation, the Morris A Mechanic Foundation and many other generous donors. For a full list of supporters visit https://www.sarc-maryland.org/1980-2/

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