Haven rendering

A rendering of Haven's new shelter.

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An advocacy group for domestic violence survivors is looking to raise money to build a new shelter.

HAVEN, a nonprofit, launched a fundraiser with a virtual event Thursday evening to finish paying for the new shelter, according to a news release. The group has raised 65% of its fundraising goal of $8 million, and is looking for donations to pay for the remainder.

The release said the nonprofit’s demand over the past seven years has increased by more than 40%. Of the 1,014 survivors it served last year, Haven said, 118 were provided emergency shelter.

And the coronavirus pandemic has placed a strain on the shelter’s capacity to conform to physical distancing guidelines. During a nine month stretch, Haven told survivors 53 times that the emergency shelter was at capacity.

The new shelter will increase capacity by 400%, according to Sarabeth Rees, the nonprofit’s fundraising chair. She said the increase will allow accommodations for male-identifying survivors of domestic violence and space for survivors to bring dogs and cats.

Michelle Skinner, president of the nonprofit’s board, said in a news release that the existing shelter’s capacity has been exceeded.

“Demand for emergency shelter has increased 1,000% since the stay-at-home order was lifted in Montana,” she said.

Erica Coyle, executive director of the nonprofit, said the organization started planning for the new shelter in 2014 and is excited to offer more capacity. She said the partnership with Gallatin Valley Land Trust to secure the land “puts Bozeman on the map as a safe space for survivors.”

The Kendeda Fund, a private foundation in Georgia, is matching contributions for the new shelter.

Those who wish to donate can email philanthropy@havenmt.org. People who donate $500 or $1,000 will be given a brick at the organization’s new shelter.

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Freddy Monares can be reached at fmonares@dailychronicle.com or at 406-582-2630.

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