Local shelter opens expansion with ceremony

By Kelly Bauer

A little over $1 million went into Hope Haven’s newly-opened expansion.

The ribbon cutting ceremony for the expansion occurred Wednesday. Executive director Lesly Wicks said Hope Haven, a homeless shelter, did not use federal or state grants to build the new addition, but relied on five grants and a number of donations from the DeKalb and surrounding communities.

Prior to and after the ceremony, attendees were invited to have snacks and take tours around the building at 1145 Rushmoore Drive. The new expansion included a 30-bed addition to the men’s dormitory, new classrooms and offices, an extended kitchen and serving area among other things, said tour guide Stacey Douglas.

“Hope Haven was started in the 1980s from a PADS program, and we’ve always had a lot of community support,” Wicks said. “With winter right around the corner, it was important we open up [the expansion].”

PADS is a program designed to provide shelter for those who are homeless.

Darlene Seilheimer attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the expansion and said she was a supporter of Hope Haven.

“It’s incredible what they’ve been able to accomplish in a short time,” Seilheimer said.

The organization still has around $130,000 to raise before it can fully pay off all the costs of the expansion, Wicks said.

Prior to the expansion’s opening, Hope Haven had been full for three years. Now that Hope Haven has 102 total beds, Wicks said she thinks the shelter will be able to help those who were turned away in the past.

“I think we’ll be pretty close to full but we’ll meet the need,” Wicks said.

Attorney Keith Foster said his firm, Foster & Buick Law Group, 2040 Aberdeen Court in Sycamore, helped Hope Haven get a special use permit necessary for the expansion. Outside of work like Foster’s and the donations that made the expansion possible, Douglas said 3,000 meals a month are provided to Hope Haven by the DeKalb community.

“It’s a success story for the community,” Foster said. “I wanted to be a part of that.”