For almost 40 years, we have been dedicated to eliminating domestic violence and sexual assault across Oakland County and surrounding communities. As the only comprehensive treatment and prevention center, we provide shelter, counseling, advocacy and educational programming to nearly 30,000 people each year and give families a chance to begin again.
While an enormous amount of work has been done to improve safety for the women and children in our community, everyday we see that intimate partner crimes remain a substantial problem. To combat this epidemic, we are taking a new stance against violence, one that will help people more effectively and efficiently. On Wednesday, we will break ground for our new facility and launch the long-awaited public phase of our Plant the Seeds of Hope Capital Campaign – slated to continue over the next 12 months.
For this $8 million initiative, we are currently seeking $3 million to be funded through new market tax credits and other incentive programs, leaving a $5 million fundraising goal. The funding will support the construction of a new HAVEN facility that will provide 36,000 square feet of residential, counseling, and advocacy space. The building will be located on approximately six acres of land, purchased in November of 2012, strategically located near the Oakland County complex in Pontiac.
To date, we have successfully secured more than $4 million (80%) and have completed the first stage of the campaign, which allowed us to purchase roughly six acres of land in Pontiac, hire an architectural firm and begin work with a construction manager. As we move into the second phase of the campaign, we are turning to you to seek donations of all sizes to help us secure the roughly $1 million still needed to build our new facility.
The new HAVEN will be based on a model – the Family Justice Center – that was pioneered in San Diego in 2002 and provide a central location for the services victims need. It has been adopted by communities in 33 states and 3 countries, and has proven to:
- Reduce homicides
- Increase victim safety, autonomy, and empowerment
- Reduce fear and anxiety for victims and their children
- Reduce recantation and minimization by victims
More than a new facility, this new HAVEN will provide a combination of services and interventions from a primary location, it will be a new, more effective way to work.
First, it will allow us to expand capacity to accommodate those in need. Our current shelter is a 1920s convent that needs repairs and is costly to maintain and operate. In addition, a lack of space forced us to turn away people 810 times last year – 5% more than the previous year.
Second, the new HAVEN will help expand our capabilities to provide victims with the help they need. The process for victims seeking shelter, personal protection orders, copies of legal documents, and restraining orders can be demanding and degrading. By housing services under one roof, we can make it easier for victims to get help; thereby, reducing their risk of becoming frustrated by the process and returning to their abusers.
Third, the new HAVEN will bring greater awareness of sexual assault and domestic violence to our community. Because this new facility will be visible to the public (versus being in a secret location like we have traditionally been), it will not only make it easier for people to find help, it will also serve as a visible reminder of the pervasive problem of violence in our community.
Most important, the new HAVEN will allow us to help families in our own backyard. In Michigan, one out of three homes experiences intimate partner violence firsthand. In Oakland County alone, more than 150,000 households have experienced violence. Furthermore, 40% of women in Michigan, 16 years of age and older, have experienced some form of sexual violence.
It’s time to stop the numbers from growing. Everyone deserves to live without fear. Click here to donate or contact Rachel Decker, Director of Development & Capital Campaign at 248-322-3703 or email@example.com to find out how you can help.