SHAWANO (WLUK) -- A groundbreaking ceremony was held Sunday, on what will soon be Safe Haven'snewly expanded facility.
For Elise Dudley, the event holds special significance, "I survived a pretty horrendous, domestic violence and sexual assault situation."
The 24-hour shelter houses, and supports victims of domestic and sexual assault.
For Dudley, who now works as a counselor at the facility, she says it helped save her life, "It was traumatic. I'm really grateful safe haven was here."
Similar to other advocacy centers in the area, Stacey Cicero, program executive director, says they've seen in an increased demand for their services, "Our emergency shelter was at or over capacity 52-percent of the year, last year, our highest count was 10 families in the shelter."
She says that doesn't include the outreach services they also provide, "88-percent of our clients are outreach clients, which means they're not staying in the shelter, but they're coming in for outreach services. Such as support groups or other work groups."
Cierco says the 2200 square ft. expansion, will allow for three extra rooms, and additional community space. For information on you can donate click here.
She says they're still looking to raise money to cover the project's $425,000 total cost, "For a community like Shawano, that's kind of lofty, but we're doing very well. We started our campaign pretty much October 1."
As they're now one step closer to making that a reality, Dudley says, for her it's opportunity to help more victims become survivors.
"I think having walked in that journey, has given me a much greater desire to really help," Dudley said.
The center says so far it has raised around $260,000 toward the project's total cost.