A domestic abuse shelter in Appleton broke ground today on an expansion and renovation project. Local 5’s Kris Schuller reports Harbor House is looking to update its facility to better serve victims of domestic abuse.
Outside Harbor House in Appleton – a celebration. As shelter supporters break ground on a $4 million project aimed at transforming a 56-year-old facility.
“We want to make sure that when families come to Harbor House, that we’re serving them with dignity and respect in dealing with the trauma they’ve experienced, in the best way possible,” said Beth Schnorr, the shelter’s executive director.
Last year 600 people found shelter here. Yet often a lack of beds had families doubling up or sleeping on mattresses on the floor. Cramped quarters prompted the “Building Hope” campaign which will add bedrooms, counseling and meeting rooms, along with improved technology at this haven for hope.
“We’ve also learned a lot about trauma and how to serve people in trauma – and serving them in crowded conditions is not good,” said Schnorr.
Yet Harbor House does more than just offer victims a bed.
“It’s not just about a shelter, it’s really about the work that goes on inside those walls,” said Appleton Mayor Tim Hanna.
Each year more than 900 women take part in programs that offer guidance and support to escape abusive relationships. This woman came here during her time of crisis and says it changed her life.
“Knowing the door was open and locked behind me and I could be safe within the walls of Harbor House was a very big deal,” said the abuse survivor who wanted to keep her identity secret.
“We strive to stand up for justice for all people,” Schnorr said.
And soon with an expanded facility – Harbor House will be able to better accommodate all who need their help.
The renovated facility is expected to be ready next fall.