Harbor House History

For over 30 years, Harbor House Domestic Abuse Programs has been the singular agency in our community committed to understanding the breadth of domestic abuse and victims’ evolving needs.

Harbor House Timeline

The first eight-bed shelter in Outagamie County opens on Elm Street. Its location is kept secret for security purposes.

December 10, 1984

The Children’s Program is added with the help of the United Way.

June 1985

A mandatory arrest policy is adopted in Outagamie County (two years before state law). Harbor House creates the Domestic Violence Intervention Program to coordinate local monitoring efforts.


A new five-bedroom, 20-bed shelter facility opens on Russet Court in Grand Chute. Its location remains hidden for security purposes.

April 10, 1989

The first in-service to educate clergy on the important role they can play in intervening in domestic abuse cases is offered.


“I Tell My Story,” an original play and collaboration among Harbor House, director Susan Rabideau, and Attic Theater premieres to sold-out audiences.

August 11, 1995

Harbor House and local medical auxiliaries sponsor the first all-day workshop for healthcare providers.

October 1995

Harbor House Domestic Abuse Programs offically becomes a private nonprofit and the shelter location is made public, creating greater opportunities for community awareness and outreach efforts.

January 1, 1997

The first Hispanic women’s support group is held in collaboration with UNIDOS Against Domestic Violence.


The Calumet County Outreach Office of Harbor House opens in Chilton and a statewide toll-free number is established.

February 1998

The Prevention Education Program is created to put greater emphasis on primary prevention.

June 1998

A fire forces Harbor House to take up residence at the Outagamie County Chapter of the Red Cross for Two and a half months.

November 1998

Our capital campaign begins to raise funds to renovate the former Peabody Manor as the new shelter and program center. A total of $2.65 million is raised, the most ever raised by a domestic violence program in Wisconsin.

March 2000

In order to meet growing demands for shelter, expand existing services, and develop new programs in response to regional needs, Harbor House moves into its new 32-bed shelter facility at 720 W. Fifth Street in Appleton.

Sept. 5, 2001

The connection between child abuse and domestic violence is recognized through a Memorandum of Understanding between Harbor House and Outagamie County Department of Human Services – a first in Wisconsin.


Ethel’s Wing opens with major funding from the John and Ethel Keller Family Foundation, adding 12 more shelter beds and making Harbor House a 44-bed facility.

March 2005

“Voices of Men” is performed in local high schools to educate young men on their role in ending violence against women. The play inspires the first men’s symposium in October and the formation of a local Voices of Men group.

April 2007

Harbor House sets a new one-day shelter census record of 59 residents in shelter.

June 6, 2007

“Cut It Out,” a program to train area hairstylists on the important role they can play in domestic violence prevention, is launched in Outagamie and Calumet counties.

October 2007

Calumet County implements a “Domestic Violence Court,” to ensure perpetrator accountability.

January 2008

The “Opening the Door” seminar, a pastor’s guide to premarital counseling, is offered by Harbor House and its Interfaith Committee.

February 2008

The Voices of Men group defines its mission statement: “Fox Valley men dedicated to preventing the abuse of girls and women through education, role modeling, and mentoring of boys and men.”

April 2008

The “Partnership Apartments,” six apartments for domestic violence victims, open in the north wing, a collaboration with the Housing Partnership of the Fox Cities.

May 2008

The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Advisory Committee is formed to better serve LGBT victims and survivors of domestic abuse.


Harbor House expands to become a 55-bed facility and program center.


Harbor House undergoes a rebranding processes with the help of Kimberly Clark.


The SAFE (Safety Awareness for Employers) program is created in partnership with the Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce with the goal to strengthen the supportive connections between employees who have experienced domestic abuse and their employers.


A full-time Legal Advocate is added to staff to expand our Legal Services and offerings for survivors.

November 2016

Jumpstart, LLC – a garage for good - offically opens by co-owners Harbor House Domestic Abuse Programs and Christine Ann Domestic Abuse Services with the mission to offer the purple carpet experience designed especially for female customers. Profits from each appointment are used to fund auto repairs for domestic violence survivors.

March 2017

Harbor House publicly announces our Building Hope Capital Campaign to expand and rennovate our current facility to better serve survivors with dignity and respect

Harbor House hosts offical Groundbreaking of our Building Hope Capital Campaign expansion/rennovation project. September 2017

Our Building Hope Capital Campaign offically comes to a close. Our new facility has 67 beds in 32 bedrooms, a new Advocacy Center, new program spaces, higher security, new spaces for pets, etc.

January 2019

Harbor House hosts our Building Hope Open House to share our new home with the community. May 2019

Our Children and Youth Program launches its first Teen Support Group focusing on the unique needs of our segment of survivors between the ages of 13-17. October 2019

Harbor House's long-time Executive Director of 30 years, Beth Schnorr retires. Amber Schroeder becomes new Executive Director. May 1, 2020

Harbor House signs on a two year contract with Us 2 Training & Consulting team to enhance and expand Harbor House's EDI (Ethics, Diversity, & Inclusion) efforts as an organization. September 2020