Written by: Megan Zinn-Sanchez, Public Relations & Special Events Coordinator, SAFEHOME
One late evening in 1979, Martha Hunt, a Roeland Park resident, opened her door to a young schoolteacher and her son. She didn’t know it, but she was also opening the door to the mission that would fill her life over the next 33 years. The young woman and her son were victims of domestic violence, their desperate plight would capture Martha’s heart and lead her into founding Johnson County’s only comprehensive domestic violence agency, SAFEHOME.
Martha Hunt passed away on June 29th, 2012. The community will remember her for her strong leadership, pioneer spirit and visionary work. She was a member of Soroptimist International of Kansas City and one of the founders of Shepherd’s Center as well as the being the driving force behind SAFEHOME.
SAFEHOME started as a network of safe houses throughout Johnson County, where women and children could find a safe refuge to escape the violence of their own homes. Over time, it grew from confidential hiding places to the first shelter which housed 19 persons and finally to SAFEHOME’s state of the art facility, with shelter space for up to 48 persons. SAFEHOME also created numerous programs to respond directly to the needs of the families they served. Under Martha’s watchful eye and guiding hand, counseling services, medical and court advocacy, transitional living and community resource referrals were made available to help those seeking a new life. Today, SAFEHOME is nationally recognized as a leader in prevention services and has won national and local acclaim for its outstanding financial and organizational structure.