Debunking our Shelter Program Myths


As we are highlighting our Shelter Program this month, we wanted to shed some light on a few misconceptions regarding utilizing our safe shelter program. 

MYTH: You have to follow the shelter’s schedule (meals, curfew, check-ins, etc) 

At Harbor House, our shelter is a resident’s home while they stay with us. Residents live in our shelter much like they would if they lived in their own apartment. When you arrive at shelter, you are assigned an advocate, who will meet with you on a regular basis to support, educate, and listen to you as you navigate your path. Our advocates are here to walk alongside you on your journey, we do not tell you what to do, or how to do something. 

MYTH: You need permission to come and go during your stay 

No! Our shelter is open 24/7 and you can come and go during your stay as your schedule needs. A simple check-in and out process when coming and going is all that is asked of residents is all we ask for in case of an emergency and we need to know who is in the building. 

MYTH: You only have access to the food that is prepared for each meal 

We have two large kitchens in our shelter. One for single adult residents, and one for families. Our kitchens are stocked with food weekly from St.Joseph’s Food Pantry. Residents are responsible for preparing, and cleaning up after themselves as you would be in your own home. Occasionally groups will donate prepared meals, or volunteer groups will come in and prepare a meal for our residents. 

MYTH: Your bedroom space is shared with others

At Harbor House, our bedrooms are one family, one room. You will always have your own sleeping space, always. For singles coming into shelter you will have your own bedroom and a shared bathroom with one other single. Families will have one bedroom for their family and a bathroom that is only theirs to use. We value privacy and know that quiet time offers a place for healing. 

MYTH: My pets can not come to shelter with me 

Harbor House is one of the only domestic abuse shelters in the state that is certified to house pets. We have a cat room and dog shelter, both of which are safe, secure, and close to our resident bedrooms. Read more about our critter corner and pet services, here

MYTH: I have to leave all of my belongings behind

We have designated resident storage in the basement that allows us to store a few totes worth of items for each resident/family staying in shelter. Basement storage is secure and we will ask for all items to be taken with you when you leave shelter. 

On the flip side if you are not able to take anything with you. We will provide you with all the essentials (new pillows, sheets, personal care items, clothes, etc.) upon your arrival to shelter. These items are always new/unused and are yours to take when you leave shelter. 

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If you are in need of safe shelter from domestic abuse. Please give us a call at 920-832-1667 and one of our advocates can assist you. We are available 24/7 and we encourage individuals seeking shelter to come to us at whatever time during the day that is safest for them. More on our shelter program can be found at: https://www.harborhousewi.org/programs/shelter-program/ 

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