Safe Havens are residential homes of respite for homeless, mentally ill people. The national concept, which provides safe, low-demand residences, was developed in 1994 by HUD. Tarrant County’s Safe Haven opened across the street from the Main Shelter in 1999, and was the first in the nation constructed from the ground up. A $750,000 HUD grant funded half of the construction cost of the 7,000-square-foot building; the other half was funded by individuals, foundations and corporations.
The only place of its kind in the area, Safe Haven aims to establish a trusting relationship with clients, so they will utilize available mental health care through collaboration with the Mental Health Mental Retardation (MHMR) center. Safe Haven provides 10 men and 10 women with furnished, private rooms in a residential facility. The comforting, warm environment offers clients a place to stay 24 hours a day, seven days a week
Safe Haven’s annual operating budget is approximately $325,000, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development reimburses 50 percent of these costs. The Presbyterian Night Shelter staff must raise the remaining funds.
Safe Haven was dedicated in the fall of 1999 to the memory of Mimi Hunter Fitzgerald who cared deeply about others. Her life’s journey ended in a tragedy that would be meaningless if we do not remember what her life was about. She devoted her life to helping others but her mental illness kept her from helping herself. Mimi deserves a legacy and the Safe Haven is for her a place she could have called home.