Skoufis gets funding for domestic violence shelter

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Senator James Skoufis (center) with Fearless! staff (L-R) Communications Manager Kristen Detheridge, Associate Director Sarita Green, Executive Director Kellyann Kostyal-Larrier, Shelter Director Melissa Shippy, Board Member Crys

NEWBURGH- Senator James Skoufis (D-Hudson Valley) joined leadership and staff of Fearless! (formerly Safe Homes) on Thursday to announce that Fearless! will receive $65,000 in annual state funding, plus a $25,000 allocation of funds granted by the Senate Majority Leader and directed by Skoufis to address violence prevention throughout the region.

Skoufis also applauded the opening of the organization’s newest shelter, which was furnished using a $125,000 grant Skoufis secured during his time in the Assembly.

The shelter’s development was long and hard-fought, and Skoufis took the opportunity to present the shelter’s architect, the Poughkeepsie-based firm Mauri Architects, with an Empire Business Award, given to exceptional businesses that go out of their way to give back to the community. In the face of COVID setbacks and evolving social distancing requirements, the Mauri team’s flexibility, quick thinking, and commitment to the project were invaluable, according to Skoufis.

“I’ve been deeply committed to supporting violence prevention throughout our region since I entered the Assembly in 2013, and there’s no greater representative or advocate for survivors of intimate partner violence than Fearless!,” said Senator Skoufis. “It’s my honor to announce these many funding streams, which will facilitate programming aimed at educating the public about the signs and signals of domestic violence, human trafficking, and steps to violence prevention. Domestic violence isn’t confined to one demographic or community, and Fearless!’ continued programming, advocacy, and support of survivors will benefit many across our Orange County communities.”

“We are grateful to Senator Skoufis for this impactful and continued support, and to Mauri Architects, who have been with us since day one of the shelter project–nearly 8 years ago,” said Fearless! Executive Director Kellyann Kostyal-Larrier. “They never abandoned the ship when many other architects would have. And while they were compensated for some of their services, the time and labor they volunteered was invaluable. I will be forever grateful to Jay and Brandon.”

The funding announcement was attended by Fearless! staff and leadership, including Board Chair Christine Fitzgerald, Board Member Crystal Johnson, Associate Director Sarita Green, Shelter Director Melissa Shippy, and Communications and Marketing Manager Kristen Detheridge. The Empire Business Award for Mauri Architects was received by President Jay Diesing, Vice President Rich Tompkins, and Project Manager Brandon Petrella.