HAVEN receives grant for new security system
TINA L. SCOTT
The Household Abuse Victims Emergency Network (HAVEN) in Merrill recently received a $4,745 grant for a new security system from the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) Foundation, according to a Dec. 21 press release from the office of Gov. Tony Evers. HAVEN submitted their application to the Housing Grant Program and was one of 41 grants to be awarded in 2020. Grants awarded statewide totaled $1,040,000.
Since 1985, the WHEDA Foundation has issued 1,198 awards totaling $25,968,000 to housing providers in Wisconsin. WHEDA established the foundation in 1983 to provide grants to improve housing for community members, including individuals with disabilities, survivors of domestic abuse, individuals with chronic mental illness, those with incomes at or below 30 percent of the area median income, and youth experiencing homelessness. The annual Housing Grant Program competition is funded entirely by WHEDA reserves and uses no state tax dollars, the release said.
Added security at the HAVEN facility in Merrill was needed to ensure the safety of staff and residents, prompting Kim West, Executive Director of HAVEN, to apply for the grant. “Victims/survivors of interpersonal abuse and violence come to the HAVEN temporary residential program for safety and support,” West explains. “Anyone who has been in a violent relationship understands that leaving can be very complicated and dangerous, so it’s important for our program to ensure the building is safe and secure.”
West learned of the grant opportunity last June and wrote the grant application after collaborating with the security team and getting quotes for completing the security system.
“The WHEDA grant was an opportunity to complete our security upgrade which began in September of 2019 with the help of Church Mutual and the CM Cares Foundation,” West said. “Back in August 2019, I reached out to Church Mutual to inquire about a film that could be placed on the glass for one of our main doors. We had threats in the past of breaking into the building through that ‘glass’ door. Although Merrill Police Department and Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department have HAVEN as high priority, the thought of anyone getting hurt before law enforcement responded did not sit well with us.”
“I was referred to the security department at Church Mutual and they offered to have their team come over and give suggestions on any upgrades, if needed. Church Mutual and CM Cares Foundation graciously donated funds to replace the glass door with a solid door and replace three out of five door cameras. The security program was installed on every advocate’s computer, which allows all staff to see the face of visitors and to find their purpose of being at HAVEN, prior to allowing them into the building. We started with the main three doors, and with the WHEDA grant, we now have the opportunity to upgrade the last two doors with upgraded cameras.”
HAVEN has been supporting the survivors of interpersonal abuse in Lincoln County for more than 35 years. Since that time, it has become more than just a “women’s shelter.” HAVEN now also works “to meet the needs of community members experiencing negative impacts of generational trauma that result from interpersonal abuse and violence,” according to West.
HAVEN provides free community education to help identify, address, and prevent all forms of interpersonal abuse and violence. HAVEN also takes a proactive approach, sharing and teaching about the qualities and attributes that make up authentic and positive relationships and how to build them. HAVEN representatives are available to provide presentations for groups of all ages and will customize their message to the audience. For more information, call HAVEN at 715.536.1300.