RUPERT — Mini-Cassia’s only women’s shelter is looking for a new home for its office.
The shelter’s safe house, which harbors women survivors of domestic violence and assault, isn’t going anywhere. But the office staff has to vacate its space in a city-owned office building to make way for the new Boys and Girls Club of Magic Valley clubhouse.
Rupert officials hope other governments in Mini-Cassia will step up to help out.
“We are not kicking the shelter office to the curb,” Councilman Craig Swensen said. “We are committed to helping them find a permanent place and not have any disruption of services.”
Meanwhile, the Minidoka County School District and the city of Rupert are working with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Magic Valley to bring the club to Rupert. The club will serve children in kindergarten through fifth grade in Minidoka County.
“We have been well taken care of by the city of Rupert,” shelter director Lynda Brennen said after a presentation by shelter and city officials at a Mini-Cassia Criminal Justice Center board meeting on Tuesday.
The shelter has operated from 323 First St. for years rent-free, and the city gives the shelter a discounted utility rate. The city also takes care of the maintenance at the building and donated the land for the safe house.
Swensen said the city has not given the shelter a deadline for leaving and is committed to helping the office staff find a permanent home somewhere in Mini-Cassia, but the city wants the building available in time for the Boys and Girls Club summer programs.
“We may not meet that goal,” Swensen said.
The shelter lost federal funding in 2016 and has since operated on small donations from the two counties, community donations and fundraisers.
“The shelter serves all of Minidoka County and Cassia County,” Minidoka County Prosecutor Lance Stevenson said. “At some point we’re going to need an additional safe house because the others in the area are always full.”
In the past two years, the shelter has provided housing for 135 people and taken 2,000 calls on its crisis line. The shelter office needs space for two offices to meet privately with clients, a reception area and a conference room, and there must be 24-hour access.
Of the victims helped by the shelter, 73 percent are from Cassia County, Brennen said. Minidoka and Cassia counties each chipped in $1,000 for the shelter this year.
“The community has kept the doors open,” Brennen said. “That, and the fact that we have a fundraiser about once a month.”