The Safe House has been in existence since 2006, although its beginnings were in 2001 as the Immaculate Heart Foster Home run by Father Milton Strebel of the Catholic Church. Donovan and Bernie and their family volunteered their time to take care of Father Strebel for many years, as well as restoring and maintaining the property.
When Father Strebel died in 2006, the Church asked Bernie and Donovan to move onto the property as caretakers, and they gave up their affluent lives in Ocean View to continue with Father Strebel’s work. Two years later, the property was sold, but the new owner generously allowed them to remain for a further 5 years.
During this time, the Jones Safe House, as it was re-named, has provided a refuge for around 100 at-risk children - some abandoned, and many abused and neglected and with drug-addicted mothers.
These children are placed at the Safe House by social workers, the police, the courts or the Church. Children stay at the Safe House for anything between a few days or months and, in some cases, years.
Without any formal drug rehabilitation training, and believing that maternal addiction was at the root of many of the horrors they saw, they begun taking in addicted mothers as well. With a combination of a complete lack of judgement, and a firm but loving hand, Donovan has rehabilitated a number of mothers and given them a fresh start.
Numbers fluctuate, but the Safe House is currently home to 17 children and 6 mothers.