Helping victims for 33 years
Safe Harbor History
Tri-County Safe Harbor Inc. has been operational since October of 1982. The program originally incorporated under the Delta County Spouse Abuse, Inc. and used the Delta County Alliance Against Violence and Abuse as an assumed name until October 7, 1992, when it applied for a legal name change. In October of 1991 the board of directors voted to change the corporation from a membership basis to a directorship only with the board of directors having voting control. In October 1996, the Delta County was dropped and the organization became Alliance Against Violence and Abuse, Inc. This change came about because services were now being offered to Menominee and Schoolcraft Counties, as well as Delta County. The most recent name change was January 2013, when the board of directors voted to change the name it became Tri-County Safe Harbor. The name change incorporated the fact that the agency provides services in three counties and that it is a safe place for victims of domestic and sexual violence to receive assistance.
In 1982, for a one-year period, the program sheltered victims of domestic violence and their dependent children in safe homes (volunteer homes located within the Delta County Area). Volunteers operated a 24-hour crisis line out of a building in Gladstone and via call forwarding out of volunteer’s homes. The program first applied for a $55,000 grant from the State of Michigan DSS in July of 1982. In October of 1983, the program rented a three-bedroom home for $400.00 per month in Escanaba to be used as its first domestic violence shelter. The 24-hour crisis line was also housed there. Due to increasing demand, a larger shelter was needed. In March of 1989, the program moved into a three story, seven-bedroom former boarding house in Gladstone donated at $250.00 per month from Doug and Joyce Stewart. In February of 1992, the Stewart’s signed ownership of the Irene Brown-Stewart house over to Safe Harbor. In 1996, again due to increasing demand, a larger shelter was purchased at the current address, 905 1st Avenue South, Escanaba. Our current shelter can accommodate 15 residents and contains our business offices, Delta County program advocates, and our crisis line. We also have two-part time advocates in each of the outlying counties we serve; Menominee and Schoolcraft. Although we have been providing sexual assault services since 1983, due to increasing demand, we sought and received a grant to hire a full-time sexual assault program coordinator in the summer of 1991. Through this program we provide many of the above mentioned services for victims of sexual assault and a 24-hour Sexual Assault Response Team (SART).
Safe Harbor is governed by an 8-member Board of Directors which includes Chair-Irene Huebler, Secretary-Ruth Botbyl, Treasurer-Ann England and members- Justine Thompson, Dianne Lahtinen, John Economopolous, Jeremy Peacock, and Michelle Oxford. On December 15, 2014, Lynn Erickson was appointed by the Board of Directors to be the new Executive Director. The Executive Director is responsible for hiring and supervision of agency staff, VOCA project, staff, and agency operations. The Crime Victim Advocate position has been with Safe Harbor since 2003 and the Crime Victim Therapist from 2010 through 2015. A second VOCA Crime Victim Advocate began with the agency in 2016 to meet the agencies demands.