The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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February 12, 2014

Children’s Haven awarded $95,000 in grant money

Children’s Haven of Southwest Missouri has received about $95,000 in grants this month to assist with its services.

The Community Foundation of Southwest Missouri on Wednesday awarded a grant of $84,940 to the Joplin shelter, which provides temporary housing to children and teenagers in times of family crisis.

The funds will be used to cover nonreimbursed costs of about two years’ worth of direct care for children after the May 2011 tornado, said Liz Erickson, development coordinator for Children’s Haven.

Stephanie Theis, the shelter’s executive director, said she appreciated the foundation’s “generous” grant.

“There are still needs, and the community foundation has really stepped in to meet them,” she said.

The grant, which comes from the foundation’s Joplin Recovery Fund, was awarded in part because of the increased need for Children’s Haven services since the tornado, said Stephanie Howard, president of the foundation’s board of directors. The shelter has seen a 40 percent sustained increase in need for its services since 2011, and its administrators said they have had to turn children away within the past year because they didn’t have room for them.

“Children’s Haven has been such a major part of Joplin pulling through and getting back on their feet,” Howard said. “Without Children’s Haven, our children would not have been safe.”

Howard said about $490,000 remains in the Joplin Recovery Fund, with the next round of grants to begin next month.

Children’s Haven also recently received a separate grant of $10,376 from the Springfield-based Community Foundation of the Ozarks, in partnership with Commerce Trust Co. That grant will be used to provide 120 nights of shelter to homeless teenagers, who also will receive transportation to and from school, medical appointments or employment, and nutritious meals and snacks by staying with the shelter.

It was among 20 proposals selected for awards last week in Springfield through the Louis L. and Julia Dorothy Coover Regional Grantmaking Program. The agencies selected for grants are working on poverty, health, environmental and arts issues in Southwest Missouri, the foundation said in a statement.

Staff members with the shelter also are preparing for a major milestone: shifting their operations from their current location, 701 S. Picher Ave., to their newly renovated house next door, at 711 S. Picher Ave. The new house will double the organization’s amount of space as well as the number of children who can be served, from 12 to 24 at a time.

The new house features a kitchen and dining room, living room and separate teen area, family visiting room, activity room that doubles as a safe room, and plenty of bathrooms and storage space, Erickson said during a tour of the new building before Wednesday’s check presentation with representatives from the Community Foundation of Southwest Missouri.

Some furniture and storage items have already been moved in, but full operations have not yet been transferred from the old house. Theis said she hopes the new house will be fully functional, and children can start moving in, by the end of the month.

“We are hoping February is the month,” she said.

By the numbers

CHILDREN’S HAVEN LAST YEAR recorded 386 children for stays at the shelter, more than half of whom were younger than 6. It provided 2,997 total shelter nights of care and 15,492 meals and snacks, and scheduled hundreds of pediatric medical appointments, according to data provided by Liz Erickson, development coordinator.

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