AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin City Council approved the purchasing and renovation of a hotel on Thursday that will be used as a family violence shelter, marking the first time in nearly a decade the city has added a new space for survivors of family violence.

The new shelter will be run by The Stop Abuse For Everyone Alliance (SAFE), an organization that serves violence and abuse survivors. The organization’s current shelter has 30 rooms with a seemingly endless waitlist of nearly 40 people on any given day. The hotel will add 50 more available rooms, doubling SAFE’s current space.

Julia Spann, co-CEO of The SAFE Alliance, said as Austin’s community continues to grow, the need for shelter grows with it.

“We think that this is going to be able to solve sort of what is currently a crisis that’s become worse as a result of COVID,” Spann said.

The organization said its SAFEline received 2,394 contacts in October 2021, the highest in the organization’s history. More than 80% of those contacts were family violence related.

Spann said the new shelter will provide residents with case management, children’s services and other resources to help families with a plan for a safer future.

Council member Greg Casar was the lead sponsor of the vote, adding it to the budget in 2020. Casar said the vote was a long time coming.

“We must get families and children off of the waiting list and into a safer place in our community. This is a true investment in public safety,” Casar said in a press release.

The organization’s SAFEline number is (512) 267-SAFE (7233).