A Safe Haven Celebrates 40 Years of Service

Taylor Holt
Updated: March 01, 2018 09:07 PM

Escaping from an abusive situation can come with many challenges. Thankfully, there are resources in the community that can help victims during this scary time - A Safe Haven is one.

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"We work really hard every day to be an asset to this community," said Susan Utech, Executive Director at A Safe Haven. 

For the last 40 years, their hard work has paid off. Alongside, friends, family and community members, the center's staff came together Thursday to celebrate the 40 years of life-saving services they've provided.

"We provide emergency shelter care for women and children in crisis and other domestic violence victims," Utech added. "To make it to 40 years is just amazing."

They started out with just a hotline that grew into a 10-bed shelter.

"Now, we have 39 beds for women and children," Utech said.

The center also includes a resource center, which has been located on First Street in downtown Duluth since 2009. There, they provide more of the necessary support for victims. 

"We provide all of the expanded services that a survivor might of had difficulty accessing before," said Shelter Supervisor Brittany Robb. "There are a lot of wellness activities here for the women to kind of nurture their mind, body, and spirit, and their recovery process."

Each year, those services go to 13,000 women and children. On top of that, they shelter about 500 people yearly.

"We see all walks of life come into the shelter," said Robb. 

The need for these services is still great though.

"There's about 300 arrests in Duluth every year for domestic violence," said Utech.

"We know it takes a women 7 to 11 times to leave her abusive partner and so a lot of times her first time in the shelter won't be her last," said Robb.

Robb says to be a part of their transformation and healing journey is humbling, and one of the reasons they do what they do.

"Although domestic violence is still an issue we wish didn't exist, we're so happy to be here for as long as it takes," said Robb.

They have also started offering a new youth mentoring program and day camp at their center. 

The program is called Shine Brite summer camp. It's for children who have been affected by domestic violence. This is a free week-long summer camp that provides children with therapeutic activities and techniques to continue their healing journey. If you know someone between the grades of 2 and 11 who has been affected by domestic violence, you can contact the center. 

The shelter also always accepts donations from cash to gently-used women's clothing, unused household items and office supplies. 


Taylor Holt

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