Mayor Gary Yates

The Emergency Safe Home Program

The purpose of the Emergency Safe Home Program is to keep domestic violence victims out of harms way until other, more permanent placements can be made. Immediately after a domestic violence incident and police response, a domestic violence advocate is called. The two primary advocate organizations are the Center for Domestic Violence Prevention and Sor Juan Ines, Services for Abused Women. Referrals for our newly formed program can be made by a police officer, a domestic violence advocate or by an advocate from the San Mateo District Attorney's Office.

The domestic violence advocates offer services to and screen victims to see what their needs are. If the victim has adequate funding, and/or drugs or alcohol are involved, the victim will not be suitable for the Emergency Safe Home Program. Victims are referred to the program in those cases where: 1) the victim's spouse or significant other has not been apprehended; 2) the victim is without funds; 3) the victim is without family; and 4) the victim would greatly benefit from the program. Before making a hotel/motel referral, program personnel do explore other alternatives, however, i.e. relatives or women's shelters.

If the victim is suitable, the domestic violence advocate or police officer, or both, will call a voice mail line that has been set up for the program. The voice mail message is updated daily with the current week's hotels listed for the current week. The advocate will provide the hotel with a code number and ask if there are any vacancies for a client. If there is no vacancy at the first hotel called, the advocate will call another hotel listed for the week. The advocate will continue call hotels until a vacant room is found.

The code number provided to the hotel is a measure to ensure that a spouse/partner cannot call various hotels to try and find their spouse/partner. The hotel clerk, assistant manager, manager or shift supervisor will be provided with the client's alias. Real names are not used. The hotel is also provided with information about the referring police agency and the referring domestic violence agency. The advocate or a police officer then drives the victim to the hotel if the victim does not have transportation.

When the victim arrives at the hotel, the hotel employee hands the victim the Emergency Safe Home Program Registration Form. The program provides each participating hotel registration forms printed in English, Spanish and Tagalog.

There are over 20 participating hotels. Each hotel is put on call for a 6-day period, every month. Each hotel shares the 6-day period with three or four other hotels.

The Emergency Safe Home Program was initiated in January, 1997, and is seeking corporate sponsors for future operation.

CONTACT: Peter W. Snodgrass, San Mateo Police Department, 2000 S. Delaware Street, San Mateo, CA 94403, Telephone - (415) 377-4585, Fax - (415) 377-4531.

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The United States Conference of Mayors

J. Thomas Cochran, Executive Director
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Telephone (202) 293-7330, FAX (202) 293-2352

Copyright 1999, US Conference of Mayors, All rights reserved.