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YCC Center to host sexual assault conference; new transitional housing nearly ready

By Rob Nielsen - | Apr 24, 2024

Rob Nielsen, Standard-Examiner

A new transitional housing complex rises on the campus of the YCC Family Crisis Center, pictured on Tuesday, April 23, 2024.

OGDEN — The YCC Family Crisis Center is in the midst of a busy spring.

This week, the center is set to host its first ever “Let’s Talk About It” Summit to raise awareness of sexual assault and how to talk about the subject. Meanwhile, construction is coming close to completion on the center’s new transitional housing complex.

Both are hoped by YCC officials to help bolster the organization’s mission and expand how it provides for the community.

‘Let’s Talk About It’

Saturday will mark YCC’s first “Let’s Talk About It” Summit.

Victim Assistance Center Director Amber Paaso told the Standard-Examiner the summit is intended to start conversations on a delicate topic.

“April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, so we wanted to do something to help educate the public as well as spread awareness for rape and sexual assault,” she said. “‘Let’s Talk About It’ is about how to have those difficult conversations, especially with our youth. We’re trying to gear that summit towards parents and educators to give them some of the tools that they need to address things like consent, safety online, what do healthy relationships look like. That’s really what our goal is.

“This was our way of saying, ‘How can we make a change in our community?’ If we can provide parents with those tools to have those conversations, then maybe we can prevent rape and sexual assault moving forward.”

Paaso said the summit aims to teach attendees in a way that makes unpleasant conversations easier.

“They can expect a space where we’re trying to make it comfortable to talk about difficult topics,” she said. “We also will try to make it fun and interesting. When we educate, we like to do it with a lot of interaction activities. It’s fun and it also gives those tools and some ideas of, ‘How can I approach this with my child, or my teenager, that will maybe be a bit less (uncomfortable) and a little more interesting?'”

She said the summit, which will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the YCC Center, 2261 Adams Ave., will include speakers, lunch and sessions covering topics including consent and tech safety.

People interested in attending Saturday are asked to sign up at https://tinyurl.com/y2ye5rj3.

“Part of our mission and our vision statement is about outreach and education and spreading awareness,” Paaso said. “This is also about empowering parents to be a part of that conversation with their children in order to lead healthy, safe lives without violence and without sexual assault.”

She said the hope is to make the conference an annual fixture at YCC.

“I know sexual assault can be a scary topic,” she said. “It can be an uncomfortable topic. But we are not going to be successful in ending sexual assault if we don’t have the courage to have these conversations, and that’s what the whole idea of the name ‘Let’s Talk About It’ came from.”

Transitional housing

Closing in on the horizon, the YCC Center also is set to finish a project that will offer transitional housing to those who need it.

Housing Assistance Center Manager Ian Williams told the Standard-Examiner they’re close to being able to offer transitional housing once again after having to give up the resource.

“This is a 14-unit apartment complex that is designed for transitional housing for domestic violence survivors and sexual assault survivors,” he said. “There’s six studio apartments for single adults and then the rest of the units are either two- or three-bedroom apartments for families.”

He said some units have “flex bedrooms” that can be added or subtracted from an apartment unit as needed.

Williams said YCC has had transitional housing in the past, but funding trends steered them away from it for a time and the building that YCC previously used wasn’t up to standards.

“Years ago, YCC had transitional housing, but as a state and general housing structure in Utah, we kind of started moving away from that and funding has gone to other things,” he said. “But recently, funding has started to move back to a transitional housing kind of a model, so we kind of jumped on that change. … I think there were nine units in a small apartment complex that we used to have here. That building was about 80 years old. It was falling apart and we were just kind of putting Band-Aids on it for the last several years to make it work for what we were using it for.”

He said this new complex will be YCC’s first transitional housing option in nearly 10 years.

Williams said the transitional housing replaces a YCC-owned thrift store and a warehouse that had once been on the campus.

“Although those were really good services for the area, we made the decision to move to something new that I think will be more valuable for this population in this area,” he said.

In addition to changing funding priorities, Williams said the return to offering transitional housing comes from an ever-increasing need.

“More than anything else, the need in the last several years has started to far outweigh the services and resources available for this population,” he said. “Ever since COVID started, we’ve started to see an influx and an increase in calls to our emergency hotline. We’ve also seen a huge increase in LAP (lethality assessment protocol) calls as well.

“We’re trying to stay on top of the need in the community, and we believe that adding 30-40 more beds that can be used by this population will really help. We also believe adding more safe units to this area will reduce the load on first responders — EMTs and Ogden police officers.”

Williams said the new housing will be a boost to YCC’s ability to accomplish its goals.

“We’re the only domestic violence survivor agency in Weber County,” he said. “We have about 62 beds in our shelter. Being able to open up a new building — a new, safe, secure transitional housing model — it’ll help to open up beds as people transition from our shelter into the new apartment building, which means we’ll be able to more swiftly get people out of emergency situations and into our emergency shelter.”

Williams said it’s anticipated construction will finish in June with people being able to utilize the housing later that month or in early July.


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