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img 604 East 38th Street, Indianapolis, IN 46205
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Our History

Our beautiful building is an architectural gem in the Meridian-Kessler Neighborhood in Indianapolis. Built in 1915 as Indianapolis Public School #66, named for Henry P. Coburn, the school was closed sometime in the 1970’s and sat vacant for several years. In 1986, the building became listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its educational and architectural significance. To honor its rich history, we keep “Coburn” in our name today. Through the years, we’ve had numerous visitors, volunteers, supporters, and a few residents who were even students at IPS #66.

“This facility will save lives.”

~Deborah Daniels, Executive Director of the Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee, 1995

Our building



1995 | Safe Haven Campaign Created, Building Rehab Underway
In 1995, during a conversation after a church choir practice, then RTV6 television news anchor, Tracey Horth Krueger, and then executive director of the Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee, Deborah Daniels, began talking about a real need in Indianapolis for transitional housing for survivors of domestic violence. Using their individual and collective influence, they compelled RTV6 and the Mayor’s Commission on Family Violence to join forces to create the Safe Haven Campaign. The Mayor’s office and Pedcor began conversations about developing the property at 604 E. 38th Street into this vision of transitional housing. The Pedcor Companies owned the building. They had developed it into a 54 single room assisted living program for low-income senior citizens. But, due to a shift in state government priorities, the program was unable to sustain itself and the building was vacant. The Martin Luther King Community Development Corporation (MLKCDC) was enlisted to rehabilitate the building and Pedcor became the first Section 42 Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) partner. Community advocates hailed it as the “culmination of a dream” and Ms. Daniels noted, “This facility will save lives.”

1996 | Coburn Place Opens its Doors
On December 28, 1996, Coburn Place Safe Haven opened its doors to its first residents, 5 women and 14 children. Since then, Coburn Place has served more than 1700 women and children. Our initial staff had 5 members. Today, we grown to more than 20.
2003 | 501(c)3 Established
For several years, Coburn Place existed as a “doing business as or dba” under the MLKCDC until receiving its own 501(c)(3) and establishing its own board of directors in 2003.
2009 | Financial Crisis Averted, Second Building Rehab
In 2009, two significant “events” emerged, the first LIH tax credits expired and a financial crisis was occurring in the United States, primarily in the housing market. Both events began to have an impact on the financial health of Coburn Place. Long-time supporter and board member, Phil Stoffregen, Pedcor’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, worked tirelessly on Coburn Place’s behalf to establish a new equity partner with KeyBank Community Development Corporation (KCDC) becoming the LIHTC partner. This deal provided much needed funds to conduct further rehabilitation on the building and infuse the program with financial support while the country’s financial crisis continued and other funding sources for Coburn Place decreased or were eliminated. In May, 2009 rehab construction began which resulted in the parking lot doubling in size, Giving Sum providing a new playground, the buildings’ windows being refurbished, an upgraded security system with new cameras, an energy efficient roof, a new entrance, office spaces and common areas, and privacy walls and fences being installed around the facility to help ensure the safety of those we serve.
2011 | Programming Shift to Voluntary Services Model
In early 2011, we began rehabbing our program as well. We went “rent-free” and instead encourage residents to pay themselves rent into a savings account that they take with them as a “nest egg” when they exit. We shifted our service delivery to a voluntary, trauma informed model which establishes survivors as experts in their own lives and does not mandate prescriptive programming – in essence, we do not have one size fits all curricula of programming. We recognize that each survivor is on their own unique journey to immediate and long-term safety, to emotional and social well-being, to self-sufficiency, and to permanent housing. Our programs and services are designed to empower our clients on this journey and partner with them along the way. National trends in service delivery have begun to recognize voluntary services as a best practice. Coburn Place is proud to be the first residential domestic violence program in Indiana to implement this compassionate and effective model. We are currently working with the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence in the “Rules Reduction Project” as our sister programs across the state begin to shift to this philosophy as well. The goal of the statewide Rules Reduction Project is that all residential domestic violence programs in Indiana will be voluntary and trauma informed by the end of 2014.