Harbor House Breaks Ground on New 119-Bed Emergency Housing Facility for Domestic Abuse Survivors and Providing the Design for Worldwide Use

House of Central Florida
, one of the nation’s most comprehensive
domestic abuse organizations, officially broke ground on a new 119-bed
emergency housing facility named the Morgan & Morgan Home – A Safe
Haven for Families
. The organization also announced replication
plans of the facility for other domestic abuse shelters around the world.

“We call the project ‘Building Courage,’ because it takes such
incredible courage for survivors to leave their abuser,” said Ruffin
Rhodes, project architect with Rhodes+Brito Architects. “This new home
will provide a shining light for domestic abuse survivors, showing them
hope for a better life where they regain their dignity and provide a
peaceful, loving home for their children.”

Last year, Harbor House reached more than 15,000 domestic abuse
survivors through its outreach services. The current shelter includes
102 beds, but has averaged 147 temporarily living on the campus,
nightly, over the past year.


The new home was designed to balance two distinct needs: the survivors’
psychological needs for a warm, healing, home-like environment; and a
cost-effective facility that can be built and maintained efficiently
without feeling cold or institutional.

The new emergency home will be 27,500 square-feet and house up to 136
survivors in 20 bedrooms. Each will have built-in bunk beds with stairs
and sleep six people due to a unique trundle design. Every survivor will
have their own bed behind a locked bedroom door, allowing for the
privacy and dignity required to heal. In addition, four private bedrooms
will meet the special needs of moms with newborns and guests with
disabilities; and provide a private living space for men with children.

Harbor House estimates approximately 60,000 people experience an abusive
relationship across Central Florida yearly. Of that, at least 2,000 are
homeless due to domestic violence and are in danger of losing their
lives. Half are children mostly under the age of five. The average stay
for a family on Harbor House’s campus is 70 to 80 days.

“We’re much more than a shelter; we help survivors find safety through
court advocacy, a 24-7 crisis hotline, and twelve community outreach
offices in Orange County,” continued Wick. “Today, we broke ground on an
innovative building designed by survivors for survivors to reduce trauma
and meet their unique needs. Each investment in this new temporary home
will also help other survivors around the world.”


Harbor House’s new emergency home was also designed based on standards
established by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which
funded research by the Washington State Coalition against Domestic
to determine best practices for short-term housing of
domestic abuse survivors. Harbor House is one of the first domestic
abuse organizations in the country using these standards and is the only
sharing the design to save other organizations the cost of designing
their own centers.

VOA Architects and Collage Companies have waived their rights to
any additional design fees for organizations around the world. This, in
turn, will save each organization $220,000.


Established in 1976, Harbor
is Orange County’s only state-certified domestic violence
center. It provides safe shelter, a 24-hour crisis hotline, counseling,
legal advocacy and justice for thousands of domestic violence survivors
and their children each year. Harbor House works to prevent and
eliminate domestic abuse in Central Florida by providing critical
life-saving services to survivors, implementing and advancing best
practices, and educating and engaging the community in a united front.

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Harbor House of Central Florida
Michele Plant Kroupa, 407-592-6667

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