helter, Inc. was incorporated as a non-profit organization in 1978. However, the agency began providing services for survivors of domestic violence in 1977 within Alpena county. The agency was developed in response to the absence of services for domestic violence prevention and intervention services in Northeast Michigan. Area legal services, the former Department of Social Services (currently Family Independence Agency) and other local human service organizations and community lay persons provided input into the development of Shelter, Inc.. Requesting input from the human services and at large communities in the implementation of Shelter, Inc. in 1977 demonstrated our agency’s commitment to a continuum of care philosophy long before a formal name was given to collaborative services.
Since its inception the Shelter, Inc. service area and array of services has expanded to include a five county service area including Alcona, Alpena, Iosco, Montmorency and Presque Isle counties. Nation wide referrals for services are additionally received and accepted. Although emergency shelter and long-term alternative housing assistance remain a major focus, the agency has expanded the service array to address domestic violence and sexual assault prevention and intervention related peripheral issues and concerns including but not limited to: individual and group counseling, children’s programming, prevention services, community education, transitional housing, legal and consumer advocacy, 24 hour crisis line, pre and post employment support, job seeking/attainment assistance and life skills management. Shelter, Inc. as an agency is committed to providing need specific, person centered programs/assistance. Where we acknowledge strong commonalities in domestic violence we realize the need for individualized care. We, therefore, provide opportunities for survivors to conduct individual needs assessment activities and develop individual plans of service based on needs assessment results.
We currently operate safe houses in two of our five counties and offices in each of the five counties. Subsequently, we are able to provide a full array of services within each county. Our service area is primarily rural and the instances of poverty are among the highest in the state of Michigan. We will be implementing a permanent supportive housing program component to the Shelter, Inc. profile in June, 2001. This component will provide longer term housing options for victims/survivors of domestic violence with ancillary disabilities. As an agency we have placed a strong emphasis on promoting cultural, gender and disability sensitive services. The make up of our board of directors, professional and administrative staff exhibits professional expertise, cultural and gender diversity.