Our shelter’s beginning was in 1979 when a group of dedicated volunteers sought to document the need for and establish a refuge for abused women and their children. Then, in September of 1981, the rst Women’s Shelter was rented and opened in Lawrence County. Demand for shelter soon outgrew the original facility and in 1982, with the help of private funding from the Hoyt Foundation, a larger home was purchased mortgage-free, greatly enhancing our services to women in the area.

In 1988, the agency received state funding to provide sexual assault services. A second house was purchased and used predominantly for counseling services sought by community members not residing at the shelter facility.

March of 1992 witnessed the opening of the Highland House, a halfway house for women recovering from chemical dependency issues. Residency was for a 3-6 month period during which participants focused on recovery issues, life skills and ways to rejoin the community as healthy, productive members.


A fourth house, known as the Mary Mullen House, was purchased in the fall of 1992 and housed the administrative staff. It was named after Mrs. Mullen who bequeathed a substantial sum to the agency.  The agency, a non-profit organization, previously depended entirely upon community residents and its organizations for funding. Funding was then acquired through the Lawrence County Drug and Alcohol Commission, Act 157 (Victims of Crime Act) which placed a fee on those charged with a criminal offense, Title XX funds distributed through the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence (PCADV), the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (PCAR), and local fund-raising events. Funding for the Highland House was based on fee-for-service.

Phase I of a Capital Campaign was launched in 1999 for the purpose of land acquisition and new construction. Fund-raising counsel was secured and more than $1,000,000 was raised through either gifts or pledges. Halfway through the campaign a public appeal was launched and groundbreaking took place in June of 2000.

In July of 2000 the Highland House received 501(c)(3) status becoming an agency separate from the WS/RCC.

Construction of a new facility on West State Street began in 2001 and in February of 2002 occupants of all three buildings on Wallace Avenue moved to the new location.

In February of 2003, the name was changed to the Crisis Shelter of Lawrence County, removing the confusion that services were only for women; men and children continue to be served as well as victims of juvenile offenders and victims of other serious crimes.

In 2012, an additional house in an out-lying township in Lawrence County was acquired from Lawrence County Community Action Partnership with a Neighborhood Stabilization Program grant.  This property added two off-site Transitional Housing apartments.