Nestled in stunning mountains, this extremely private seven-bedroom home features a large kitchen and peaceful courtyard.
The spacious garage can easily hide a car from an angry parolee
who was just released after serving time for throwing his ex-wife
around like a rag doll.
This isn’t a property description you’re likely to see in real
estate, but it’s exactly these features that provide peace of
mind for the survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and
stalking staying in the shelter run by the Community Safety
Network in Jackson Hole, Wyo. That peace extends to local real
estate pro Ed Liebzeit, a lead advocate for this safe haven, who
rests easier at night knowing CSN is there for those who need it.
As a former Air Force navigator who flew two tours in
Vietnam, Liebzeit doesn’t represent the typical demographic of
a crusader against domestic violence. But since 2008, Liebzeit’s
work first as a member and then president of CSN’s board has
centered on understanding the needs of victims and figuring
out the best way to help them recover. “He’s brought a lot of
great thinking from his business background,” says Sharel
Love, executive director of CSN. “When it comes to our clients,
it didn’t take very long for him to think through the long game.
What is she going to do when he gets released from jail? It is
significant when a man in a leadership position takes the time to
think that through.”
The shelter in the Tetons—which has been open for 35 years—
houses victims and their children for up to eight weeks at a time.
But that’s rarely long enough. In 2001, CSN opened three
long-term housing spaces, where clients can live for up to two
years. Love says they’re always full, which is why they plan
to open two more by year’s end. Clients who move into the
apartments pay 30 percent of their income in rent and are
required to participate in social service programs, which include
financial literacy and coaching. “We’re trying to help them learn
to budget,” Liebzeit says, noting abusers commonly manipulate
their victims by controlling household finances.
Theresa (who asked that her full name not be used) first
contacted CSN for help in leaving an abusive relationship in
2000. After her husband forced her and her children to move
hundreds of miles away, CSN provided remote support. In 2012,
she and her children were finally able to escape and return to
Jackson Hole. Without money or a home, they found temporary
shelter with CSN, and Theresa filed for divorce.
Just before Christmas that year, Theresa and her kids moved
into CSN’s long-term transitional housing. The apartment
allowed the four of them to feel secure enough to start
rebuilding their lives in a community she’d left a decade earlier
and helped them avoid having to go on public assistance. “It
was the home that we needed,” she says. “I just wanted to keep
that momentum that CSN was giving me. It really empowered
me to be a good role model for my kids and go to the next level.”
Theresa now lives in an a;ordable home of her own.
Educating the Community
CSN is the only organization in Wyoming that provides
shelter for victims as well as an extensive suite of education
and prevention programs for the community, which Liebzeit
has worked to expand in recent years. CSN works with local
schools, religious groups, and the area’s robust hospitality
Love says when she’s trying to help other nonprofits think
strategically about finding new board members, she always
asks if they’ve engaged a real estate professional. “To me it’s
very logical,” she says, noting that agents know which home
owners are eager to get involved in their communities.
Liebzeit says the public has an underrecognized role in
addressing domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. “It’s
just being alert for signs that someone might need help,” he
says. “The easiest thing for all of us to do is nothing, and that
isn’t right. As a society we shouldn’t allow that to happen.”
Contact Liebzeit at firstname.lastname@example.org and CSN at csnjh.org.
Thinking Through the Long Game
BY MEG WHITE
scourges of sexual assault, domestic violence, and stalking.
ED LIEBZEIT JACKSON HOLE, WYO. | JACKSON HOLE SOTHEBY’S INTERNATIONAL REALTY
REALTORMAG. REALTOR.ORG REALTOR® NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2016 29