Published July 15, 2014
Volume 22, Number 7

Tri-Valley Haven Helps Adults & Children in Need

By Zoe Francis


Tri-Valley Haven provides a wide array of services for people who might otherwise fall through the cracks due to domestic violence or financial hardship.
The nonprofit group that started solely to help women and children escape domestic violence has gradually expanded to also help people who are homeless or grappling with poverty.
“Our mission is to build a world without violence,” Vicki Thompson, the group’s director of domestic violence services, said. “We do that by providing intervention and prevention specifically around domestic violence and sexual assault. Over the years, we’ve added homelessness and poverty.”
Tri-Valley Haven was founded in 1977 when a group of women came together to provide shelter for women and children trying to escape domestic violence. The caring women provided shelter in their own homes before scraping together enough funds to buy a duplex in the early 1980s.
That small duplex, which could house just eight people, eventually gave way to larger spaces so that the group can now house up to 30 women and children.
As the shelter was expanding, the area’s community health agency started divesting its services for homeless families and people in dire financial straits to focus on health and counseling services.
In 1999, Tri-Valley Haven took over the health agency’s food pantry, which was serving up to 800 people per month. Now, the pantry serves more than 3,000 people each month.
“These are Tri-Valley residents who, in order to get through the month, need some assistance with food,” Thompson explained.
When the community agency closed its homeless shelter, local city and county officials urged Tri-Valley Haven to save that much-needed resource and helped the group buy the shelter that can house up to 16 adults and children.
“That’s how we got the homeless shelter,” she said. “It is the only shelter in the Tri-Valley area that accepts two-parent families, single dads with their kids or families with teenage boys.”
The group’s latest venture is taking control of the BuenasVidas Thrift Store in Livermore, which is being remodeled and will be renamed the Tri-Valley Haven Thrift Store. The store will provide critical funds for the group, which also offers free legal and counseling services.
While Tri-Valley Haven gets the bulk of its funding from government sources, it relies heavily on the community for financial and volunteer support.
“We are very scrappy,” Thompson said proudly. “We’ve become very good at doing a lot with a little. Our staff is very flexible and a very hard-working team. We really reach out to the community to build teams.”
One way to get involved is with the upcoming back-to-school backpack and supplies program. The group accepts financial donations and supplies to provide students with backpacks chockfull of important school supplies.
The list of volunteer jobs is expansive, making it easy for people to find the volunteer job that best matches their skills and the amount of time they can offer. Volunteer jobs range from one-time tasks to long-term hotline support that requires extensive training.
“We have all kinds of volunteer opportunities,” Thompson said. “It depends on what somebody wants to do.”
“There is a huge need for these services that doesn’t go away,” she continued. “We shelter approximately 300 women and children each year in our domestic violence shelter. Our crisis line receives about 10 times as many calls over the course of the year as our local police departments do. They don’t want to get police involved, for whatever reason. They turn to us.”
Learn more about Tri-Valley Haven and how you can help at trivalleyhaven.org. If you’d like to help with the back-to-school backpack and supplies program, drop a note to Ralph Johnson at ralph@trivalleyhaven.org or call 925-449-2510, ext. 405.


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