SafeHouse of Shelby County, Inc. is a full-service domestic violence and sexual assault center that provides emergency shelter and comprehensive support services to victims in Shelby, Coosa and Clay Counties and the City of Hoover, Alabama. The mission of SafeHouse is to empower survivors of domestic and sexual violence through support and advocacy and to educate the community to prevent future abuse. SafeHouse was founded in 1989 as an emergency shelter by a group of individuals dedicated to serving victims of domestic violence. In 1996, SafeHouse expanded its mission to include services for victims of sexual violence. As our understanding of victim needs has increased, SafeHouse has recognized that access to safe emergency shelter may be only one step for a victim on her way to freedom from violence. Long-term efforts to address the victim’s future include a continuum of care that goes beyond crisis calls and emergency intervention. Major programs include residential services (emergency shelter, transitional housing and children’s services), community services and prevention education.
The SafeHouse residential facility has a capacity of 54 – 16 emergency shelter beds, 30 transitional housing beds and 8 beds in two handicap accessible rooms which can be used for either emergency shelter or transitional living. There is no limit to the time women and children can reside in emergency shelter. The Emergency Shelter Program provides comprehensive services including housing and meals, case management (goal setting and coordination of services), individual and group counseling, support/education groups, safety planning and life skills classes (for example, economic empowerment and job readiness). The Emergency Shelter Program also includes the SafeHouse 24-hour crisis hotline.
Transitional living units are available to residents for up to two years and afford survivors the time they need to build stable lives free from violence and to become self-sufficient. Services include housing and meals, case management, individual and group counseling, support/education groups, safety planning, life skills classes, budgeting, professional development and employment counseling.
SafeHouse provides comprehensive services for children who reside in the shelter and transitional living facility. Counseling and education play primary roles in ending the cycle of violence and in reducing future violence in our communities. Child advocates provide child care Monday through Friday and are available for emergency child care, as needed. SafeHouse staff and volunteers also provide individual and group counseling, recreational activities, arts and crafts groups, support and education groups, and other developmentally appropriate activities. In fiscal year 2009/2010, SafeHouse provided services to 125 children in shelter and transitional housing.
Not all victims require shelter but both they and their children need access to services and resources available in the community. SafeHouse Community Services Program provides counseling, case management, domestic and sexual violence advocacy, legal advocacy, court accompaniment, hospital accompaniment, safety planning, and support and education groups.
The SafeHouse Prevention/Education Program provides multi-session prevention education classes for elementary, middle and high school students in Shelby, Coosa, and Clay Counties and the City of Hoover. The program also includes professional training, community education and community event/fairs.