SafeHouse opens new facility: Center can now accommodate 60 women and children

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Safehouse of Shelby County hosted a ribbon-cutting and grand opening celebration of their new facility on Tuesday, Jan. 23.

The 14,000 square-foot Caroline E. Jackson Center for Women and Children will have the capacity to house 60 women and children comfortably, as opposed to the 20 women the old facility held.

The new facility also has a &8220;homey&8221; feel, according to board of directors member Betty Wells. &8220;It reminds me of our own homes. It mirrors what everybody should be entitled to,&8221; said Wells.

Each room is furnished with new dark wood furniture, linens and futons for families to relax or sleep on.

Executive Director Susan Hawkins explained, &8220;This is a place of peace; it is a place of serenity, a place where families can begin to heal. We do what we can to restore dignity to families.&8221;

The project began five years ago under the leadership of the Safehouse board of directors, who approached long-time SafeHouse supporter Caroline Jackson in 1999 about the possibility of donating money to help build a comprehensive campus for Safehouse.

At the opening of the new facility, 93-year-old Jackson told visitors all she could say was, &8220;Wow! What a place, I never expected something like this. We did this all as a team.&8221;

Businesses from around the county also donated money, and plaques acknowledging their contributions hang on the room doors.

With the opening of the center, Phase I of the project is nearly complete. In the future, the new campus will serve as an emergency shelter, transitional housing, therapeutic children&8217;s services center and outreach program. So far, Safehouse has raised $2 million of the $3.5 million needed to finish the entire project.