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To combat the outbreak of COVID-19 in the U.S., social distancing is a safe alternative for many. However, for families that experience domestic violence, isolation may be more dangerous.

Due to an increased number of cases of domestic abuse and a need for more space, an emergency domestic violence shelter opened Thursday in Logan, months ahead of schedule.

“With the pandemic upon us, we quickly turned this building into an extension of our emergency shelter,” said Jill Anderson, the executive director of CAPSA, the local nonprofit domestic violence, sexual assault and rape recovery center. “Domestic abuse increases during times of national crisis and the need for social distancing also reduced our capacity, we had to do something.”

In January, The Dell Loy Hansen Family Foundation purchased apartments that would be run by CAPSA and would be exclusively available for victims of domestic violence as the first step to a life free of abuse.

At the beginning of the project the Real Salt Lake Foundation donated $60,000 to this project to make repairs to the building to prepare it for occupancy. Mary VanMinde, the director of the RSL Foundation, said she jumped at the idea to get the building up and running sooner.

“We are moving people in here tonight, that is how important it was to get this online,” VanMinde said. “We know that with domestic violence, a lot of people get a break when they go to school or go to work. Being able to have this shelter opened to them is great.”

Each of the four units have two bedrooms along with a living room and kitchen. In addition to RSL blankets, pillows and other swag, other necessary bedding was donated by Malouf, a premium bedding company.

“We would have loved to have a larger media event and invited our community supporters, but we really needed to get the message out today that CAPSA is open and we are ready to serve survivors in a healthy way during this time,” Anderson said.

Anderson said CAPSA has ramped up its services in other ways as well, including video-conferencing and other online tools.

“All of these adjustments allow us to not skip a beat when providing essential services,” said James Boyd, the development director at CAPSA. “There is so much need right now.”

Boyd said they are constantly reworking their systems to be prepared for whatever comes next during this uncertain time.

“This came together in the perfect time for us to help the people we need to,” Anderson said. “This space will save lives.”

For more information about CAPSA, go to capsa.org. If you or others you know are experiencing domestic violence or any kind of abuse, call CAPSA’s 24-hour support phone line, (435)753-2500.

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