WAYNE, Neb. (AP) — Timing, as it is sometimes said, is everything. So what better way to celebrate an organization’s 40th year than to fulfill a dream that’s existed much of that same at time.
Haven House Family Services Center opened its new location just off of Wayne’s downtown on Aug. 1. And for the first time in the nonprofit organization’s history, it owns the building in which it’s housed. No more rent payments.
“We’ve been paying rent from the beginning. This is a timely move for us to move forward,” executive director Amy Munderloh told the Sioux City Journal .
For the past 15 years, Haven House, which provides services to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, has rented space in the Dearborn Mall on the city’s east side. It’s been a good location, but it had little room for expansion, and workers had to take turns using a room in which they could talk privately with clients who often must share sensitive information.
“We wanted to own a building for probably 15 years,” said Laura Dendinger, who’s been on the board of directors of the nonprofit organization for 25 years and currently serves as chairwoman.
The board looked into a building at 215 W. Second St. about 20 years ago, but it wasn’t feasible to buy it back then, Munderloh said.
Last fall, that same building came up for sale again when the eye clinic that occupied it broke ground for a new location. It was perfect timing for Haven House to move forward with a purchase.
“The building came up for sale and we began looking into the possibilities. We thought let’s just see what happens and go for it,” Munderloh said.
Haven House will close on the sale and move at the end of the month, at the same time that the lease on the current location expires.
“This is a good step forward because eventually we’ll be able to expand our services,” Dendinger said.
Among the services offered from Haven House’s offices in Wayne and South Sioux City are a 24-hour crisis line, case management, emergency shelter and transportation, support groups, children’s advocacy, and medical and legal advocacy. Shelters are located in Wayne and Dakota counties.
With 11 offices and a full basement for the four full-time employees and two full-time interns, the new site will provide more privacy for clients. Plans are in the works to expand mental health services and integrate into providing housing services. Munderloh said additional support groups and therapy services are possible and hiring of at least one more employee likely.
To pay for the purchase, remodeling and some operating expenses of the new building, Haven House launched a $300,000 capital campaign in December and is nearly halfway to its fundraising goal.
Support has come from businesses, individuals and community groups in the five-county service area of Wayne, Dakota, Dixon, Cedar and Thurston counties. Munderloh said Haven House has secured a U.S. Department of Agriculture loan to finalize the purchase while it completes the fundraising efforts.
“I’m just really excited that we can have this opportunity, and the support of the community has been really inspiring,” she said.
The move is also an opportunity to raise Haven House’s profile. The new site near downtown is more visible than the current location.
“I think it’s going to be a positive thing for people to be reminded we’re there and be more curious about what we do and why we’re there,” Dendinger said. “It seems like it’s the perfect time for us to work on this project so that the future of the agency is solid.”
Information from: Sioux City Journal, http://www.siouxcityjournal.com