SACO, Maine — It started nearly two years ago as a new tool for Mainers trying to break free from domestic abuse and other crisis situations.
The Safe House app provides help, information, and resources with just a few taps and is available nationwide. Volunteers are now working to ensure crisis agencies in every state know there is a free platform for people to get help.
Drawing from her experience as a domestic violence survivor, Eliza Conley-Lepene created the Safe House app to help Mainers trying to break from domestic abuse and other crisis situations.
The app puts resources in all 16 Maine counties, including domestic violence, elder abuse, suicide, and human trafficking at your fingertips.
Safe House launched as a nationwide platform a little more than a year ago, providing both crisis and substance use disorder resources, in every county and in every state. Volunteers are now mailing dozens of media kits with information and QR codes for the apps across the country.
"We cover every type of crisis and every type of recovery situation, and we are trying to think of ways to help underserved populations," Conely-LePene said.
The kits have been mailed to governor's offices in all 50 states, police and emergency departments in major cities like New York and Boston, and national organizations supporting crisis and recovery services.
"They can update their logo, their phone number, and their name if it's changed, if they are not listed — we want to make sure that it's listed," Conley-LePene added.
Phoebe Caron who has three young children, said she felt lost not knowing how to leave an abusive marriage.
"I didn't know where to turn. I was afraid I was going to be homeless," Caron explained.
The young mother, with a few taps on the Safe House app, was all she needed to find shelter.
"You don't have to go online and search 'domestic violence help' — anything could pop up, like the national hotline, it gets you directly to what's near you," Caron added.
Caron now serves on the board of Safe House, a non-profit. She has since earned an associate's degree and works as a case manager for mental health services.
Meanwhile, volunteers plan to send flyers and information on the Safe House app to state education officials to reach students who may be in crisis.
If you are in crisis and need help you can call the Maine Statewide Crisis Help line at 1-888-568-1112 or click here.
The Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence provides a statewide domestic abuse hotline, plus advocacy, and trains nine partner agencies, which provide direct services such as helplines, locating shelters, and offering legal support.
If you would like to volunteer with Safe House, go here.