Henry County Shelter Opens New Facility
June 22, 2011
With a new 14,472 square-foot facility, the Henry County Domestic Violence Shelter is now capable of supporting more clients.
Haven House, as it is known, celebrated its grand opening June 1 along with the Henry County Board of Commissioners. It features 16 bedrooms, a kitchen, laundry room, living area and staff offices.
Director Marjorie Lacy said the organization was in dire need of a new facility. The domestic violence agency has been established in the county for 21 years, with the original shelter having begun 11 years ago. The old structure was a 110-year-old family home, that while large, was not designed for what it was being used for.
“The difference is night and day in this new facility,” Lacy said. “Everything about it is nice.”
Plans for the new facility began eight years ago. It was paid for by Special Purpose Local Options Sales Tax III funds, which totaled $1.7 million. That included design, engineering, construction and furniture. Lacy said they were grateful and excited that the taxpayers saw the need and supported this project.
Adding on to the new amenities, it also features a separate teen and children’s area and a playground — donated by the Rotary Club and Alpla Plastics — that will be constructed July 15. For the women, there is a library with Internet access so they can look for work and do things they would need to do with a computer.
“We’re the only sheltering facility in the county, there isn’t anything close to our county,” said Lacy. “And I’ll tell you sadly in two weeks we’re already full in this facility — we’re having to turn people away.”
The new facility can house up to 48 women and children, a stark contrast to the old structure that was able to have up to 18 people. Another good feature is that of the 16 bedrooms on site, nine are designated as family rooms, with three beds, one pull-out trundle and a private bathroom. Lacy said it is critical for the families to be able to have privacy.
“It’s good we have the facility,” said District 1 Commissioner Warren Holder.
“The sad part, the bitter part, is the fact that we have to have a facility like this for people who have been abused. It is with great celebration that Haven House opens this new building with more opportunities to reach out to the community and help those who are suffering.”