May 29, 2014 at 1:00 am

Oakland Co. HAVEN makes push for final $1M to expand services with new facility

Plant the Seeds of Hope is HAVEN's capital campaign to raise $8 million for a new facility for counseling and residential services. )

For years, HAVEN has had to turn away survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault because the Oakland County nonprofit did not have room to house them.

Over the past five years, the length of stay for residential clients has increased from an average of 28 days to 37 days.

“In order to be safe in your own home, you have to first have a home and then have some way to financial support yourself,” said Beth Morrison, CEO and president of HAVEN. “Doing that in today’s world is still difficult.”

This week, HAVEN launched Plant the Seeds of Hope, an $8 million capital campaign to fund construction of a new 36,000-square-foot facility that will house counseling, advocacy, residential and other services under one roof.

“We believe that by the programmatic changes we are making, and working closer with partners, that we can shorten the length of stay as well as hopefully intervene before someone needs to use a shelter,” said Morrison.

HAVEN has been quietly raising money for the new facility since 2010, and has already secured $4 million. Another $3 million is expected to come from federal tax credits. Now HAVEN is seeking the public’s help to raise the last $1 million of its goal.

The new center, which will be on 6 acres near the Oakland County complex in Pontiac, will include space for new programs such as career counseling, job training, legal clinics, support group sessions, financial literacy sessions and a pet shelter. It will have 16 bedrooms.

Current facilities are spread out across the county, with leased locations in Royal Oak and Bingham Farms and a residential building in Pontiac owned by HAVEN that has 15 bedrooms.

A private groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for June 18. The project is expected to be complete in the fall of 2016.

By housing more services under one roof, HAVEN hopes to make it easier and more comfortable for abuse survivors to get help and reduce the risk of them returning to their abusers.

On average, the nonprofit serves 12,000 children and adults, mostly women, per year with counseling, educational programs and medical testing at its facilities. HAVEN also offers abuse prevention seminars off-site to 15,000 others each year, Morrison said.

HAVEN has been serving children and adults in Oakland County for almost 40 years. In the 2012 fiscal year, HAVEN served 372 adults and children in its residential program. The nonprofit expects similar numbers this year.

Around 80 percent of HAVEN’s clients are from Oakland County, said Morrison.

“It really impacts everyone regardless of socioeconomic factors, education, race, community, culture and religion,” said Morrison. “Domestic violence and sexual abuse is a crime that doesn’t discriminate.

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