After budget cuts doomed a domestic violence shelter in Grass Valley, California, its director
turned to a method not used in Grass Valley since the 1970s: she asked good Samaritans to open their homes, creating a type of underground railroad for those in need.
Since the shelter closed, a handful of "safe houses" have opened in the area. One sits at the end of a long gravel road, surrounded by pear and apple orchards. Like the others, the homeowner has no real crisis training and receives no payment….Her guests who need support are told to call the local domestic violence hotline. She's also aware of how dangerous what she's doing really is since 911 is her only backup.