Harbor House Shelter Program

When individuals reach out to us, we know that immediate support is critical, which is why our shelter program has responded to growing demands, providing safe shelter for all who seek it – regardless of capacity.

Located at 720 West Fifth Street in Appleton, Wisconsin, our handicap-accessible, 55-bed facility provides safe shelter at no cost to women and children experiencing domestic abuse. This includes emotional, financial, physical, sexual, verbal, and other forms of abuse. Men seeking refuge are provided alternative shelter locations based on need and level of danger. Harbor House residents can stay until their safety situation is resolved or until they find alternative housing. We are open 24 hours a day and we accept both walk-in and scheduled appointments.

More than Just a Shelter

At Harbor House, we’re more than just a shelter – we’re a community of support and encouragement. If you’re leaving your situation in a hurry, we offer food, clothing, personal care items, and other basic needs. And we encourage all clients – both shelter residents and nonresidents – to meet with an Advocate to develop a safety plan and get help connecting to additional services. We also provide access to safe transportation so you can make the important appointments in your life.

Safe Space

Our shelter facility is protected by a comprehensive security system that includes controlled entry into the building, security cameras, and specific procedures that ensure safe entry for residents, volunteers, and donors. Safety is also emphasized when training new staff, volunteers, and board members. In addition, staff is on duty 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week to take crisis calls and attend to the needs of clients.

Safe Space
Judgment Free Zone

Judgment-Free Zone

We realize that each person’s experience is unique. We’re not here to tell you what to do, when to do it, or how to do it. We’re here to support the decisions you make by surrounding you with encouragement, services, and resources. Our advocates will never push you to share more than you want to – and we will not share your information with anyone else, including law enforcement, unless we have explicit written permission.

Additional Programming

While the Harbor House Shelter Program can help address your most fundamental needs by providing safe shelter and safety planning services, it is also the gateway to a number of additional services that help you move beyond basic safety and towards a life of self-sufficiency and personal empowerment.

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Women’s Program

The Harbor House Women’s Program helps clients address the trauma experienced as a result of domestic abuse while also removing barriers to self-sufficiency and empowerment. Services include one-on-one counseling, safety planning, support groupsii, legal and economic advocacy, and referrals to other community resources.

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Youth Program

Our Youth Program offers children and teens a supportive environment where they can learn about domestic abuse and discuss strategies to stay safe. Individual and group support gives young people the chance to share their experiences. Youth Advocates also work with the moms iiito provide legal and educational assistance.

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Critter Corner

We understand that your pet is an important part of the family and a source of comfort during difficult times. Our Critter Corner pet shelter offers safe, short-term, on-site accommodations for your pet while you stay in our shelter. We’re also the first shelter in the state of Wisconsin to be listed as a SAF-T Shelter.

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iBecause a substantial majority of our clients are women, this program is referred to as the “Women’s Program” and program advocates are referred to as “Women’s Advocates.” On this website, we also sometimes refer to program clients as “women.” Despite this use of nomenclature, we realize that domestic abuse also affects men, and we make most of our programming – including individual counseling, safety planning, legal advocacy, and domestic advocacy – available to men as well.

iiBecause a substantial majority of our clients are women, most of our support groups are available to women only. While we also have a youth support group, there are no support groups for men at this time. However, men are welcome to seek individual counseling and safety planning, as well as legal and economic advocacy.

iiiWe actually work with the protective parent, which may be a man or woman. We use the word “moms” here because a large majority of our clients are women, and women are most often the protective parent in these situations.