Peace House readies to come ‘out of the shadows,’ unveil new 42,000-square-foot facility
After 24 years, Peace House is stepping out of the shadows.
On Saturday, the nonprofit is scheduled to unveil its new facility in Quinn’s Junction, marking the culmination of years of planning, tireless fundraising and what Executive Director Kendra Wyckoff characterized as a community-wide push to support survivors of domestic abuse and their children.
“It’s truly a historic milestone for our organization and this community,” she said.
Officials say the new facility, located at 700 Round Valley Drive, will be nothing short of transformational for the nonprofit. At approximately 42,000 square feet, it is roughly 12 times the size of its current home. The added square footage will allow Peace House to provide transitional housing where survivors and their families can live for up to 24 months, an on-site child care program and common areas for survivors to gather informally. That’s in addition to the nonprofit’s emergency shelter and case management and counseling services.
But Wyckoff said none of it would be possible if the community didn’t believe in the nonprofit’s mission. Peace House relied on support from individual donors to secure the more than $11 million needed for the project, along with federal grants and a $900,000 appropriation from the Utah Legislature. The organization also had support from both Park City and Summit County.
“What a powerful message for survivors when you have a community that says, ‘This is important and we’re going to help make this happen and we’re here to support you,’” she said.
Among the benefits of the new space, the transitional housing program stands out, Wyckoff said. Not having access to housing is one of the biggest barriers that prevents people from leaving abusive relationships. That can also cause people to return to their abusers after leaving an emergency shelter.
Survivors who come to Peace House, however, will now be able to rebuild their lives and work toward securing employment and, eventually, permanent housing.
“They have the opportunity to step into a safe place, be able to meet some of those basic needs that all of us have,” Wyckoff said. “Feeling safe and having access to housing and food, having shelter, allows us to be able to focus on some of those other things that help us move forward in life.”
The child care offerings, Wyckoff said, will have a similar impact. The program will be available to survivors living in both the transitional and emergency housing, as well as those who are coming to Peace House to meet with a case manager or counselor. The program will focus on enrichment activities and building self-confidence in the children, most of whom will have also experienced the devastating effects of domestic abuse.
“Childcare is something that is essential to (survivors),” she said. “To know that their children have a safe place that they can go … is such a critical part of being able to provide them with that stability that they need.”
In addition to those elements, the facility was designed with an eye toward providing a sense of comfort. Large windows allow natural light to flood the common areas, for example, while art hanging on the walls adds to a homey atmosphere. It’s meant to show survivors that Peace House is a place where they are safe and loved.
“What’s so powerful about this space is it creates a warm, welcoming, healing environment where we can serve anyone who’s been affected by this issue,” she said.
In contrast to Peace House’s previous home, which is at an undisclosed location, the new facility along Round Valley Drive is highly visible. People may notice it while driving on U.S. 40 or when heading to and from Park City Hospital.
The visible presence marks a shift for the nonprofit, one it is eager to embrace. Wyckoff said it will allow Peace House to raise more awareness about domestic violence and serve as a beacon, informing people in abusive relationships that there is a community that cares about them and will offer a helping hand.
“We’re truly coming out of the shadows into the light as an organization,” she said, “and we’re bringing the issue of family violence and abuse into the light, as well.”
Peace House is scheduled to host a ribbon cutting ceremony Saturday at 9 a.m. For more information, visit peacehouse.org.
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