Time Out Spreads Its Wings With New Transitional Housing Program

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To the battered women who've sought refuge within its walls, the Time Out Domestic Violence Shelter has been a blessing.

To the staff and volunteers who work to protect these women, the blessings have been the community's support, a little good timing and a lot of luck.

Jean Oliver, former board member, said Time Out's good fortune has led to the opening of the Time Out 2 Shop thrift store, a new, larger shelter with state-of-the-art security, and to an expanded thrift store located in mid-Payson.

The organization's newest acquisition: property near the shelter that will be used as transitional housing.

"Call it a gift from God, or whatever you want, but we think this is going to be wonderful," Oliver said, as she led a tour around the property.

Because the property is so close to the shelter, Oliver had a bird's eye view when the Realtor pounded the "For Sale" sign into the ground. Oliver immediately contacted the agency, and with a few strokes of the pen, was able to hammer out a deal that would add transitional housing to Time Out's services.

"It wasn't nearly as simple as it sounds," she said, "but it was relatively painless."

Time Out closed on the property July 15. It features two mobile homes one that's an old Airstream travel trailer that's been converted into a three-bedroom, two-bathroom house that Oliver calls "just the kinkiest thing I've ever seen."

The two "transitional" houses will be used for women and their children who are ready to leave the security of the Time Out shelter, but are not yet ready to face the world completely on their own.

"Some of the women who come here have never lived on their own before," Oliver said. "Some of them don't even know where to begin.

"Through the transitional housing program, we teach them how to manage a household, how to live within a budget ... we give them the keys to independent living."

Oliver was asked to take over the program, and resigned her position on the board of directors to become the transitional housing coordinator. Oliver said she feels her extensive background in teaching, health care administration and management is a perfect fit for her new position.

Although it has only been a couple of weeks, and the two houses aren't quite ready for occupancy, Oliver said she's already had four women apply for the program.

"To qualify, the girls have to apply for transitional housing, and they have to pay an application fee," she said. "They must also have a full-time job, day care for their children, and a savings account that they add to each month.

"They also have to agree to live by Time Out rules, which means no alcohol, no drugs and no overnight guests."

Selected families will not only receive a home of their own for six months to a year, but Oliver will teach them financial management, nutrition and anything else the mother needs to know before taking her next step toward independence.

"The whole idea of our programs is to get these women off welfare, and to keep them out of the system," she said. "And, I think that's one of the things Time Out does extremely well."

While volunteers put the finishing touches on the two houses, Oliver said there are a few things the public can still do to help.

"My biggest hope, I think, is for service clubs to adopt us and offer to paint the exterior of the two houses," she said, "or to take care of our yard, or volunteer to help keep us supplied in paper products ... we could really use help like that."

To help or make a donation to the transitional housing program or the Time Out 2 Shop thrift store, call 468-1611.

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