Special to the News-Times
HUNTSVILLE — The Board of Directors at the SAAFE House organization is looking into management issues while making changes in its leadership.
Board President Kimberly D. Moore said there is an ongoing investigation that, in fairness to all involved, must be completed before conclusions are released. However, at this point in time, the SAAFE House still is operating and is working to fulfill its mission.
To assist in the transition, Constance Rossiter has been hired as interim executive director, and began working for the SAAFE House Tuesday. A search to fill the position permanently is ongoing.
Moore said Rossiter is a skilled collaborator with extensive experience working with diverse victims of violence through a trauma-informed and culturally sensitive lens. She holds master’s degrees in Psychology and Business Administration and is proficient in developing and managing programs and securing private and government funding.
Throughout her career, she has provided outreach and trainings on domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking, and interpersonal trauma on the local, national, and the international level.
The SAAFE House is a non-profit entity which is dedicated to assisting victims of family violence who are in crisis, without regard to disability on the part of the victims and their families.
On June 9, the board received information regarding the management of the SAAFE House, and because of that, changes were made to the management team and an investigation was launched.
Moore said she could not provide more information at this time as it is an ongoing investigation, which has included reports to law enforcement and privacy laws that protect employees.
The SAAFE House provides short-term housing to victims and their minor children. This housing is intended to protect victims from their abusers by giving them a safe place to live without threat of further injury from their abusers. Housing, clothing, food, social services, and counseling also are provided.
The clientele of the SAAFE House need anonymity in seeking our services, in that they are often trying to cut off contact with those who would hurt them.
In completing its mission in providing shelter to the abused, the SAAFE House is in the process of remodeling one of its facilities. This project was approved by the board in June 2021 and fundraising efforts began in September of that year.
Construction has been ongoing since funds have been received from our donors; however, as part of the ongoing investigation, the board has developed concerns about the remodeling, Moore said. The inspections which the board has obtained since June 9 have required that construction be suspended as the SAAFE House develops a sound strategy for continuing the project in a safe and efficient manner.
SAAFE House often is a harbor of last resort for the victims of family violence, including in many instances sexual assault. SAAFE House is funded entirely through donations and public grants. It has an obligation to account for how it uses this money to its donors and the State of Texas.
It’s governing board of directors is comprised of volunteers who are not compensated. No board member has ever been paid for their services and the by-laws of the SAAFE House specifically provide that they may not be compensated for their service.
The Board has necessarily been required, since modifying the management of the SAAFE House on June 9, to work many hours to ensure that the non-profit stays open and continues its mission. The people of this community need the SAAFE House’s services, and it is committed to continuing this mission even when problems arise which have disrupted its management.