Survivor Resources provides emotional and practical help for families and friends of those who have died by homicide, suicide or accident.
Survivor Resources walks with families through their grief, understanding the special needs created by violent death. We also offer essential community service by assisting and easing relationships between police departments, county attorney’s offices, and the grieving families. Survivor Resources reduces community anger and assists in a collaborative effort of resolve and healing.
Survivor Resources, formerly the Victim Intervention Project, Inc. (VIPI), was developed at the request of Lt. Joe Corcoran, retired Commander of the St. Paul Police Homicide Unit. Corcoran recognized that families of homicide victims didn’t get help until their case was charged, and that for some cases which are never charged, families never receive help at all. Soon afterward, he had a conversation with Margaret McAbee from Family Service, Inc., organizers of the first-of-its-kind weekly support group for family members of homicide victims. Corcoran asked to attend a meeting of the support group, and later challenged the St. Paul Police Chaplains to develop a program that would respond to the needs of these people. He asked the chaplains specifically to seek the assistance of the support group creators.
Three police chaplains picked up the challenge along with Family Service. Representing the St. Paul Police Department, the St. Paul Police Chaplains, the St. Paul Area Council of Churches, Parents of Murdered Children, and Family Service, Inc., this group began regular meetings to hammer out the plan that would become the Victim Intervention Project. Over the next two years, other agencies including the Ramsey County Sheriff, the St. Paul Interdenominational Black Ministerial Alliance, the Ramsey County Attorney Office Victim Witness Division, and the Suburban Police Chaplains Corp joined the effort.
Family Service stepped forward, accepting responsibility for and raising funds to begin the project. With funding from the United Way and the Bush and Emma Howe Foundations, the project was officially launched in May 1995 with the hiring of Margaret McAbee, its first paid employee. When the project was evaluated after the first 13 months, 428 clients had been served. VIP was given high marks by the clients, the homicide investigators, the victim witness advocates, the medical examiner, and the police chaplains. After two years at Family Service, VIP was ready to try its wings.
For six months, Hand in Hand served as fiscal agent for the project while VIP incorporated as the Victim Intervention Project Institute (VIPI) and attained non-profit status. With the initial funds nearly gone, VIPI was awarded a continuation grant from the MN Center for Crime Victim Services. On July 1, 1997, VIPI officially became an independent entity. The St. Paul Police Department and the City of St. Paul lobbied the state legislature for additional funds needed to maintain the project, and agreed to provide office space to house the program. Other individuals and businesses also supported the project, and area churches, hotels, and schools offer their facilities for support groups and memorial services.
After learning about the work of the Victim Intervention Program’s work the Minneapolis Homicide Unit asked VIPI to provide services in Minneapolis and Hennepin County. Staff, clients and volunteers lobbied the legislature to seek the funds to begin serving the citizens of Minneapolis.
After ten years of service in the metro area VIPI undertook a large strategic planning process to evaluate our program, mission, goals and objectives. Our staff and board determined it was time for a new name and marketing materials to more accurately describe our work. When the I-35W Bridge Collapsed on August 1, 2007, our staff responded, with new materials in hand--we officially began using our new name: Survivor Resources.
In the days following the bridge collapse, our staff recognized the critical need for the people involved to come together for the purpose of connecting with others who would understand the feelings they were experiencing. Survivor Resources held the first support group just three weeks after the collapse.
Survivor Resources continues to serve its clients with crisis response and follow-up care, with support groups for homicide, suicide and accidental death survivors, with annual memorial services, and through a variety of presentations in the community. Survivor Resources strives to educate the public and heighten their awareness to the victim’s plight. As we look to the future, we hope to broaden the scope and breadth of services offered by Survivor Resources.