Haven rendering

A rendering of Haven's new shelter.

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Haven announced this week that its new shelter will more than double the amount of people it can serve and will have space for other organizations helping survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.

The new shelter, which is scheduled for groundbreaking sometime this spring, is planned to have 30 bedrooms with 40 beds, according to Erica Aytes Coyle, the executive director of the nonprofit.

When social distancing isn’t necessary, the current Haven shelter capacity is 12 people. With social distancing, it maxes out at 5 individuals or family units.

“This feels like a real turning point for not only Haven’s history, but for how our community is taking ownership of the issue,” Coyle said. “We programmatically as an organization have been working over the past decade to really mobilize the community in addressing intimate-partner violence, but with this new facility we’ll actually have the space that neighbors, friends, family members can easily interact with the org, support survivors and help us find the path forward to a future without violence.”

Other features of the new shelter include a community garden, spaces for the Bozeman community to come together for programs, a state-of-the-art security system and spaces for survivors to visit with family and friends.

Haven provides trauma-informed care, which means staff acknowledge survivors “are the experts in their own lives.”

“Our job is to support their decisions without shame or judgement and help them get the resources they need to get on the path they want to be on,” Coyle said. “This feels like a big step forward in really addressing, as the entire Gallatin Valley, how we can end intimate-partner violence.”

The new shelter was designed by MASS Design Group, a global nonprofit organization that focuses on how architecture can bring justice and help people heal. MASS’s design was chosen after a nine month competition facilitated by JFL Architects. Martel Construction was chosen for the construction of the building.

Sarah Mohland, a Bozeman principal at MASS and project manager of the Haven project, said the design of the new shelter is focused around principles of safety, trust, choice, collaboration and empowerment for the women and families who will eventually live in the building.

“There’s a really big focus on dignity,” said Mohland, who is originally from Great Falls. “One of the other really clear design principals was around safety and ensuring clear sightlines through the building and avoiding dark hallways, avoiding corners, so that all the people who have experienced trauma know what they're in for as they're entering a space.”

Other design elements in the plans focus on community living areas, landscaping and natural building materials, Mohland said.

Another departure from Haven’s current shelter, which is a private residence in an undisclosed location, is that the location of the new shelter north of Bozeman Pond will be public. Research shows that survivors are safer in a visible shelter with more security, compared to a shelter that’s hidden away, according to a news release from Haven.

“We’re really shining a light on the issue of initiating partner violence,” Coyle said. “Because without shining a light on the issue, we’re never going to end it.”

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Melissa Loveridge can be reached at mloveridge@dailychronicle.com or at (406) 582-2651. 

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