A New Start: Michigan Chapter Teams Up to Create Safe Harbor for Victims of Domestic Abuse
After years of unsuccessful attempts to raise funds for a new facility, Turning Point received an unexpected windfall. The Macomb County commissioners offered Turning Point, a nonprofit that provides shelter and assistance for victims of domestic violence in the metropolitan Detroit area, $500,000 in federal stimulus money — provided they could raise the rest of the funds needed to complete the project. As nonprofits often do, they reached out to the community, and the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) Michigan chapter responded.
Turning Point was operating out of a 100-year-old building that was inaccessible to persons with disabilities and had reached maximum capacity. “The shelter was becoming a barrier to providing services,” says CEO Suzanne Coats. “We could only meet about 20 percent of the growing demand.”
Volunteers from the Michigan chapters of ASID and Interior Designers Coalition for Change (IDCFC) joined forces with the architect, design students and the community to create a high-level healing facility that provides safety and security while maintaining a warm and friendly residential environment.
“Turning Point desperately wanted us to take over the interior design of the entire project,” says ASID Michigan President Cricket Brown, ASID. “We were pleased to be able to fulfill this desire once both groups were in place.”
The volunteers divided up the work by commercial and residential areas. They provided full design services, from concepting to project management. ASID and IDCFC assisted with the installation, furnishing the three-story building with donations as well as support from industry partners. New furniture was purchased with ASID and IDCFC fundraising event dollars. All wall coverings, including installation, were secured at no cost.
The project involved the complete renovation of an existing building and the addition of a third level that allowed the shelter to double its capacity to 52 residents, including 13 barrier-free family suites. The interior upgrade focused on the privacy and security of the residents and the daily needs of them and the approximately 60 volunteers.
“Through the use of color-coded schemes, the shelter has very cheerful, child-friendly rooms and spaces, warm and soothing quiet areas for reflection and sleep, as well as sturdy, well-lit areas for service delivery,” Coats says. “The residents were overwhelmed when they saw the new space.”
“We are blessed to have had this opportunity to participate in this life-changing project,” Brown adds, “and to make a difference in the lives of thousands of victims.”