Bay Area Turning Point, Inc. was founded in 1991 by a group of community leaders and citizens concerned for the lack of a local shelter and support services for homeless, battered, abused and displaced women and their children in the Greater Bay Area. An independent community needs assessments performed in 1990 by St. John Hospital and the United Way Service Center of the Bay Area had ranked this service gap as the second most glaring need of this area. Beginning as community discussions and moving to a task force to identify solutions, the vision of a local resource led to the forming of a Board of Directors. This Board of Directors, led by founding President Pamela K. Merrill, was formed to initiate this “grassroots” endeavor. The members of this founding board began to provide limited resources in late 1992. During 1993, through the generous use of the United Way Helpline, board members and trained volunteers assisted nearly 300 women. 1994 brought the addition of a paid Executive Director, Diane Savage, to ground the agency’s outreach services, further the agency’s mission and to establish a shelter facility. During 1994, services and their protocols were developed. Working agreements with area police departments, criminal justice systems and other providers were also formed. From the back of the Resale Shop of Interfaith Caring Ministries, Bay Area Turning Point assisted 1,050 persons. In 1995, the agency took a bold step in establishing its independent service site and assisted approximately 3,000 women and children. The agency also conducted a Capital Campaign to raise the funds to make the shelter vision a reality.
Also, in 1994, the agency’s Board of Directors established the Friends of BATP. The Friends served a three-fold mission: 1.) Raised money to support the programs and operations of BATP; 2.) Promoted community awareness of BATP; 3.) Assisted the agency staff with special projects and meeting special needs. Friends of BATP held it’s own 501(c) 3 status until it disbanded. In 2018 the Friends of BATP were once again called into action to support the agency. Their efforts are in conjunction with the board of directors and development department and do not operate under a separate 501(c)3.
Through the generous support of the Houston Endowment, Inc., the Swalm Foundation, St. John Hospital, St. Lukes United Methodist Church, Housing and Urban Development, the Harris County Community Development Agency, Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, and many community friends who were committed to the mission of Bay Area Turning Point, a debt-free shelter facility with a 55 person capacity became a reality in May 1996.
The BATP Foundation and the BATP Advisory council were established in 1998. BATP built and opened its Crisis Intervention and Administrative office building, located at 210 S. Walnut, in March of 2000 and operated to support the agency programming until its sunset date.
In 2017 Diane Savage retired and the board of directors hired its second President and CEO in the agencies history. In February of 2018, Leigh Ann Fry took the helm to take BATP into its next phase in history. Today, Bay Area Turning Point offers a comprehensive slate of trauma informed services which include shelter, outreach, personal advocacy, therapy, transportation, job skills training, and housing.
While this in itself is a major accomplishment and closes a severe gap in essential local resources, the agency’s mission will not be fulfilled until the violence, abuse and mistreatment of all individuals impacted by domestic violence and sexual assault is extinguished.
Brief History Summarized
- Incorporated in 1991 in response to the need for a local crisis intervention center and shelter.
- Non-residential services and Safe Haven shelter began in 1992, provided solely by volunteers.
- Administrative & Outreach Office opened January 1994 in a space provided by Interfaith Caring Ministries. Diane Savage was hired as the Executive Director.
- 1,050 women and children received face-to-face services during 1994.
- David Weekly Homes offered assistance in 1995 to help build the shelter facility.
- Architect, Gregg R. Stephens, developed the shelter design in early 1995.
- Capital Building Campaign, chaired by Kippy Caraway & Dixie Robison began in early 1995.
- Shelter construction began after Ground Breaking Ceremony on August 11, 1995.
- In September 1995, BATP became an official sponsor of The Clothesline Project, a visible display of tee shirt art made by and for survivors of physical and sexual abuse. It promoted community awareness and a healing experience for victims/survivors.
- The debt-free shelter facility opened May 15, 1996.
- BATP’s Resale Shop, Encore Decor, opened in Nassau Bay, in April, 1996. Profits of the shop supported the shelter’s operating budget.
- October 1, 1996, BATP became the official Rape Crisis Center of the Greater Bay Area.
- BATP became a United Way Affiliate Agency, January 1997. United Way provided about 9% of the agency’s total budget.
- In 1998, the Board of Directors established an Advisory Council and a Foundation to facilitate the agency’s long-term financial health.
- The Women of Courage Advisory Committee was formed in 1998 to assist staff in service planning and understanding the dynamics of crisis and shelter living along with community education. This committee consisted of former BATP shelter residents.
- A temporary administrative office opened July 1998 to move staff out of the shelter and increase participant service space in the shelter facility. One goal for 1999 was to establish an Outreach Center to permanently house administrative and non-residential service staff.
- Shelter – Houses over 400 women and children each year.
- Annually, over individuals utilize BATP’s Non-Residential services.
- February 2007 the agency began the Shelter Renovation & Expansion Project. The project cost was over $1 million and lasted 11 months. The goal of the expansion was to increase its capacity of housing more people (from 55 to 65) and add additional space to enhance the quality of services to participants. The expansion included a new singles dormitory & community restroom, increased childcare space with restrooms, a new walk-in refrigerator/freezer & commercialized stainless steel kitchen, two additional offices for case management and additional parking.
- BATP became accredited as a Shelter Care Licensed Childcare Program in September 2011.
- Diane Savage retired in December of 2017
- Leigh Ann Fry was hired as the President and CEO in February of 2018
- September 2019 the BATP Resale shop was closed. The space was transitioned into office space, donation center and client resource center that includes access to house wares and client clothing closet.
- Brenda Sykes was appointed the Executive Director in July of 2021