Jennifer Singleton

Jennifer Singleton, program director for Haven of Hope, often talks to clients at the gazebo near the Coffee County Justice Center.

Haven of Hope continues to serve victims of domestic violence during the pandemic, which has intensified the victims’ struggles because of the stresses related to anxiety and uncertainty, according to Jennifer Singleton, program director for Haven of Hope. In times of uncertainty, financial abuse sharpens, and one of the goals of Haven of Hope is to provide financial education and empowerment to victims.

“We service victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking,” Singleton said.

While delving into victims’ troubles can sometimes be taxing and heartbreaking, Singleton loves helping families become safer.

“No matter what choices (our clients) make, we want them to go back with some safety tips because we recognize that statistically a lot of victims do return to their abusive situations,” Singleton said. “We want them to go back with some safety things in mind, to help them plan for the future, and to empower them to start making decisions on their own.”

Haven of Hope aims to offer proactive, curative and preventative measures against domestic violence, said Executive Director Kellye Gilbert. “We strive to provide resources to strengthen and empower victims to resolve their own issues and problems.”

The organization impacts hundreds of local families. From July 2019 to February 2020, Haven of Hope has served 164 primary victims of domestic and sexual violence and 209 secondary victims of violence in Coffee and Moore Counties. Haven of Hope provides emergency shelter and crisis hotline services. The organization’s advocates answered more than 1,100 calls from victims in the community, said Gilbert.

Haven of Hope advocates provide safety planning, needs assessments, personal and judicial advocacy, information and referral services, and community education on domestic and sexual violence, said Gilbert.

“Financial empowerment education has been such an encouragement,” Gilbert said, adding it’s been rewarding to see the positive changes in victims’ lives.

“This ranges from how financial abuse effects their lives, budgeting and planning for financial future,” Gilbert said.

The work brings satisfaction and success stories show the impact of the program.

“We had a client who was struggling financially and had several children,” Gilbert said. “As she and the advocate worked together, she recognized patterns of financial abuse in her life. The client also struggled when managing her personal finances and always worried about having enough money for food for her family. She sat down with the advocate and planned a menu and grocery budget before going to the store. She was able to find everything she needed on her list, calculated how much she had spent and at checkout organized it all. While it may seem like a simple accomplishment to some, it is an empowering experience for victims to plan, prepare, and accomplish self-sustaining activities.”

If you need help or for more information, reach out to Haven of Hope on the organization’s Facebook page, call 931-680-3011, the hotline available 24/7, or visit any of the organization’s outreach offices. The phone number of the office in Coffee County is 931-723-3852. 

Haven of Hope is one of the partners of United Way of Highway 55.

“On behalf of United Way of Highway 55, we thank all the nonprofits for their constant efforts and passion towards their missions in our community,” said Ashley Abraham, executive director of UWHWY55.

United Way provides financial support for its partners.

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