The Haven Shelter & Services, Inc. is committed to preventing and eliminating all types of domestic violence and sexual assault within our service area which includes Westmoreland, Richmond, Essex, Lancaster, and Northumberland Counties.
The primary focus of The Haven’s Mission is to provide advocacy and shelter for identified victims of partner abuse and sexual assault as well as to provide support services to victims and their families.
To greater further its mission, The Haven seeks to enhance public awareness of domestic violence and sexual assault issues through community outreach and education.
Our Core Beliefs
The philosophy which guides the staff, board members, and volunteers at The Haven in their work and interaction with the community is based on the following beliefs:
We have a responsibility to empower those who have experienced intimate partner violence and sexual abuse by presenting them with information regarding all available options, encouraging them to make their own choices, and by encouraging them to speak out against violence.
We have a responsibility to be all inclusive and to integrate the principles of disability justice, economic justice, gender justice, immigration justice, LGBTQ+ justice, and racial justice throughout the services we provide and throughout our entire organizational structure.
We have a responsibility to integrate the principles of the trauma-informed approach throughout all the services we provide and throughout our organizational structure.
We have a responsibility to empower the communities we serve to be safer for all by promoting resilience in children, youth, and families and preventing the perpetration of intimate partner and sexual violence.
We have a responsibility to collaborate with other public and private service providers to ensure a more effective, supportive response to intimate partner and sexual violence and those who have experienced such violence.
We have a responsibility to foster an environment for employees that promotes health.
The Haven will follow key elements to assure its success. They are:
adherence to mission
In 1986, The Haven was established under the Richmond County Family Focus Board.
In 1988, an old farm house was obtained to serve as The Haven's primary shelter for almost 20 years.
The Haven Shelter & Services (The Haven) was founded in 1986 as a single-family shelter for victims of domestic and family violence. Within the last 30 years, with the guidance of the Board of Directors, three Executive Directors, and a well-trained and dedicated staff, The Haven has not only expanded its services, but also its operation. Presently, it provides free services and housing to those who have experienced sexual assault, intimate partner and family violence, and homelessness. Clients are offered free, vital services such as advocacy, housing (both shelter and rapid re-housing) allocations, and community-based support groups. Such services within this sector include; legal advocacy, community, individual and family services, residential care, job training, and community and housing development. Prevention programs are also offered to middle and high school students within the service area.
The organization relies on federal, state, and local restricted grants as well as unrestricted individual contributions and in-kind donations, like paper products and food, to fund its projects, overhead, and programs. In addition, a retail space, The Thrift Shop, earns revenues through the sale of donated clothing, home goods, and furniture.
Several critical areas of inflection have contributed to the organization’s growth. Within a year of founding, the Family Focus Board established a furnished, one bedroom apartment able to house 7 persons from one family. Board members from the Department of Social Services provided intake and administration that first year and other participating board members from various local organizations provided additional services. In two years time, expansion was necessary due to the growing demand for resources from within the community. The shelter moved to a large farmhouse owned by the county government and expanded its services to house two families of up to nine individuals. A part-time administrator was employed.
By the third year, capacity was increased to 3 families of up to 13 individuals. A second bathroom, which was handicapped accessible, was added and a half-time director was hired to administer the program, provide fundraising and outreach activities, and assume intake responsibilities. The Haven changed its policies in 1990 to house 13 women and children without specifying the number of families, thereby truly expanding the number of people it could serve. Full-time staff, both professional and volunteer, was added and community education and direct services to residents were incorporated into the programs' development. Services were also expanded to include court advocacy.
In 1997, Sexual Assault services were added to the program and a part time Sexual Assault Program Coordinator was hired. The Haven broke away from The Family Focus Board in 1999 to become an individual entity. A new board was formed and the name of the program was changed to The Haven Shelter & Services, Inc.
In response to the increased demand for assistance to women and children who are homeless for reasons other than family violence, The Haven began providing shelter for longer periods of time to those families. Where previously, the policy allowed shelter for women who were homeless for reasons other than family violence for only a 24-hour period, the new policy extended that period to up to 2 weeks and longer if special circumstances created such a need. The Haven added two new positions: A Community Relations Coordinator to coordinate fundraising efforts and the volunteer program and a Victims Services Coordinator.
In 2004, The Haven obtained funding to increase its prevention efforts in cooperation with The Community Coordinating Council. A contractual staff person was retained to coordinate a variety of prevention programs including Child Assault Prevention (CAP) for elementary age children; Healthy Dating Relationship Workshops for middle and high school youth; Break the Cycle, a program for adults about the effects of domestic violence on children; and Men Can Stop Violence Against Women for adult men.
To meet the increasing need for services, The Haven formally launched their capital campaign and began seeking donations from the community in support of building a new, suitable facility in 2007. The Haven closed the old shelter and opened the new facility to residents on October 26, 2007.
Currently, The Haven maintains positions for an Executive Director, an Advocacy Director, a Sexual Assault Program Coordinator, Case Managers, Housing & Shelter Manager, Office Manager, Director of Development, Crisis & Support Program Managers, Volunteer and Community Outreach Coordinator, Child and Family Resilience Coordinator, Community Resilience Coordinator, and several Crisis & Support Services Coordinators.
The Haven continues its commitment to bringing stability and justice to the Northern Neck and Essex County by offering a variety of services to meet the unique needs of those experiencing intimate partner violence and sexual violence.