Melinda Cantu, MSW

photo of Melinda CantuVice President, Housing, Healing, and Support Services

Melinda has worked at SafePlace for 25 years, in both direct service and leadership positions.  Beginning as a volunteer at the Austin Rape Crisis Center and an intern at the Center for Battered Women, she has since implemented many new programs for youth and adults at SafePlace. She is considered an expert in operating barrier free shelters and services, and has presented both nationally and internationally on this topic.  Statewide, Melinda has been active with the Texas Council on Family Violence, and locally as part of the Ending Community Homelessness Organization (ECHO). She has a Bachelor’s degree from St. Edward’s University and a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Texas at Austin.

Melinda believes in the inherent capacity people have to change their lives – especially living safer lives. She and her staff work with survivors to ensure that any violence or abuse they might have experienced does not ultimately define who they are, but makes them stronger. A great day for Melinda is when she witnesses the SAFE service model, coupled with the ‘amazing staff’ she works with, enabling a survivor to find their strength and start their journey to healing.

Melinda Recommends Reading:  The House On Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros, Bless Me Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya and The Gift of Fear by Gavin DeBecker

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