Several months after its Safe Campus suffered damages during Winter Storm Uri, the Family Place rededicated its repaired building on July 14.
The Family Place, the largest family violence agency in Texas, faced such extensive damage as broken pipes and soaked insulation as a result of the February storm.
As the ceiling of the 21-year-old building caved in, Family Place CEO Paige Flink took to Twitter to ask the community for help. An outpouring of support came from the community: After seeing her tweet, the Rev. George Mason offered for them to stay at the Wilshire Baptist Church, the city of Dallas provided busses to transport the 52 women and 71 children staying at the Safe Campus, the Salvation Army donated cots for clients to sleep on, and Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson turned off the water to prevent further damage. With Family Place clients safely relocated, Flink focused on finding a semi-permanent place for them to stay while the Safe Campus was reconstructed.
“We started calling every hotel we could locate,” said Paige Flink, CEO of the Family Place. Eventually, Flink and the development team found an extended-stay hotel that clients stayed at during the Safe Campus reconstruction.
The damage to the Safe Campus was more extensive than Flink thought; 60% of the building had been damaged. Among the casualties the building faced were broken pipes, soaked insulation, and a broken fire suppression system.
Despite the grim report, the Family Place received an abundance of donations from within the community, as well as across the country. Large corporations like Toyota and Reliant made gifts to the Family Place, and Dallas sports teams like the Dallas Mavericks, the Dallas Stars, and the Texas Rangers also made contributions.
“The outpouring was everywhere,” said Flink.
Some donations even crossed international lines, with contributions flying in from different countries.
“It was surprising how people could totally relate,” said Flink. “What it told me was people understood the plight of a woman who is a victim of domestic violence.”
The Family Place used the donations to cover expenses that insurance could not, such as wrapping the pipes and installing a generator. The generator, other than powering the lights and air conditioning, is especially important because it powers the security gates. When the electricity would fail due to the Texas heat or thunderstorms, they would have to hire police to keep their clients safe.
Donations also helped fund a variety of improvements and additions to the building, such as a new security and fire alarm system. They were also able to paint the walls, put in new flooring, and replace the beds that were damaged during the winter storm.
At the ceremony, Johnson spoke and Mason rededicated the building. During the ceremony, the building was renamed “Sally’s Place” in honor of longtime supporter Sally Hoglund, a Dallas philanthropist.
“We are so grateful to everyone who donated funds and services to make sure our clients were cared for in the interim, and have a beautiful facility to return to that will serve our community for years to come,” said Flink.
The Family Place is a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering victims of family violence. For more information, visit familyplace.org.