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Building hope in the community

Posted on Jul 3, 2018, by

Big changes happening inside Harbor House Domestic Abuse Programs at 720 W. 5th St. in Appleton may not be visible from the building’s exterior, but they are transforming what goes on inside the facility to provide for abuse survivors.

On Sept. 6, 2017, Harbor House broke ground for the public phase of their Building Hope Campaign.

Harbor House employees collaborate in a new meeting room

As of late March, Harbor House completed its newest addition, the Advocacy Center. The center allows the organization to provide private offices for advocacy staff to meet with clients. This allows staff to better serve all clients and provide increased accessibility.

“The model here is to wrap services around mutual families we serve,” said Beth Schnorr, Executive Director, Harbor House Domestic Abuse Programs.

Collaboration space in the Advocacy Center

The space also allows Harbor House to collaborate effectively with other nonprofits by providing space where they can come and work.

The building renovation could not come at a better time for Harbor House. For the last several years, the shelter and its programs have seen higher demands, housing more people than the number of beds could accommodate. Overcrowding has led to families doubling up or sleeping on mattresses on the floor of rooms not designated to be bedrooms.

A private family room on the third floor

The Building Hope Campaign is helping to eliminate the need to share rooms, expanding its capacity from 55 beds in 13 rooms to 68 beds in 33 rooms.

“Overall, our project will allow us to serve more families and serve in ways that are more dignified, safer, more confidential and conducive to healing,” said Schnorr.

A private room for staff to meet with clients

Aside from the addition of single and family rooms, Harbor House is expanding its kitchen and dining area, adding more program spaces, a new Great Room, and a more confidential entryway. These additions will provide a home-like setting where residents can come together in support and community.

Second-floor corridor

Twenty-seven Community Foundation funds have contributed more than $887,000 to the building campaign since early 2017. These funds have helped buy furniture, fixtures and equipment for the renovation.

Harbor House hopes to have half of the second floor and third floor completed by early July. The entire project is expected to be completed in December.

Learn more about the shelter expansion at

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