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Development News

Safe Haven Ministries launches $4M campaign for new facility, program expansion





In 2016, Grand Rapids’ Safe Haven Ministries served 577 women and domestic violence survivors and since 2012 has watched its number of hotline calls grow by 110 percent. Additionally, the group has experienced a 75 percent growth in its support group attendance, 30 percent increase in client case management, and 20 percent increase in average length of stay.

“Rates of domestic violence are not increasing, but the demand for service and the breadth of services needed by survivors of domestic violence is,” says Safe Haven’s Executive Director Cindy Sielawa, citing the consistent growth in population in Grand Rapids as a likely factor for the increase in demand. 

“As our community grows, if those same statistics are true, you’re going to have an increase in demand and need for service,” says Sielawa, whose organization recently launched a $4 million capital campaign called Empower the Journey to raise funds for the build-out of a new, 19,000-square-foot facility that will combine both its residential and nonresidential programs under one roof. 

“Our current facility accommodates between seven to nine households depending on family makeup, and the new facility will be able to accommodate 12 to 15 households and allow us to provide service to larger families with more than four dependent children, which is a huge advantage,” Sielawa says in reference to Safe Haven’s emergency shelter.

Safe Haven acquired the land and received zoning approval in October for the 19,000-square-foot facility located on 28th Street near Breton Road. Though Sielawa says the location of its emergency shelter will eventually be public, some of the security points are still in the design phase, so the organization isn’t disclosing the specific address quite yet. 

“Even though our shelter will no longer be a confidential location, every measure will be taken by the building and the facility ourselves to ensure confidentially and privacy of clients, all of the way through architectural drawings to construction process and training our staff receives,” she says. 

In addition to nearly doubling the bed capacity of its emergency shelter, an expanded space will also allow for the development and implementation of new supportive services that include everything from counseling to new healing gardens and play therapy. Though Safe Haven’s residential program deals directly with women for crisis intervention, Sielawa says a large part of what the nonprofit does is prevention and education — programs which they can begin to grow even further in a larger space, as well. 

“The space will allow us to have more of these conversations with community members and will equip us with the space we need to be better community collaborators — we don’t have a lot of space to do that right now,” Sielawa says. “We believe that the entire community can play an active role in preventing domestic violence, and we want others to know how to respond or how to be supportive and where they can turn to get help and support.”

Click here to donate directly to Safe Haven Ministries’ Empower the Journey campaign, or visit safehavenministries.org to learn more about how you help. 

Written by Anya Zentmeyer, Development News Editor
Images courtesy of Safe Haven Ministries 
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