Harriets House celebrates 10 years

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 14, 2007

DEMOPOLIS &8212; Harriet&8217;s House, a not-for-profit shelter for victims of domestic abuse, celebrated its 10th anniversary last month.

Susanna Naisbett, the executive director of the shelter, said they began organizing the shelter in 1995. In May 1997, Harriet&8217;s House officially opened its doors.

In addition to being a safe haven, Harriet&8217;s House can provide people with case management, advocacy, transportation and access to legal services. They also have limited means to emergency funds.

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Harriet&8217;s House is a part of a network of 19 other shelters in the state, which are supported by the Alabama Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Harriet&8217;s House primarily serves Marengo, Greene, Sumter, Choctaw and Clarke counties.

Since the shelter opened, they have responded to 2,957 crisis calls on their 24-hour crisis hotline. They have served 380 adults and 550 children with their in-house services and provided services to 335 adults and 637 children outside of the shelter.

Most of the people who come to the shelter are women and their children. In 10 years, only four men have come to get help from Harriet&8217;s House.

The average stay for people who come to Harriet House is approximately 25 days. Naisbett said this is high in comparison to national averages, but that is in part due to the location.

One thing that the shelter relies on is the constant support of the community. Naisbett said that currently, the Xerox Corporation has pitched in the funds and the labor to provide them with a new playground. Also, the postal service in Linden has participated in a food collection service for the shelter for many years.

Another one of their large supporters is the Pilot Club. Each Wednesday they deliver hand-baked goods to the shelter. They also help put out information on what kinds of things can be donated to help Harriet&8217;s House.

Naisbett said that if she tried to name all of their contributors over the years, that she couldn&8217;t name them all.

One aspect of the shelter is its location must remain confidential for safety reasons. Naisbett said that a misconception is that because of this, other information shouldn&8217;t be given out either.

If you would like to donate something to Harriet&8217;s House, they are currently in need of the following:

Ongoing Needs:

Household repairs

Yard work

Construction Needs:

Interior and exterior painting


Basketball goal

Dog house or kennel

Second bathroom


Storage building

Everyday Needs:

Baking supplies

Bath linens


Ceiling fans

Cleaning supplies

Closet organizers




Grill and charcoal

Grocery coupons


Light bulbs

Patio furniture

Phone cards

Pots and pans

School supplies



For information about Harriet&8217;s House, call 289-8988. For more information on the Alabama Coalition Against Domestic Violence, visit www.acadv.org.