Between Homelessness and a Home is The Haven

It’s called the Haven, but it must seem like Heaven for those lucky enough to find sanctuary there.  Only at The Haven are the homeless and sometimes hopeless called and treated as “guests.”

Since opening the day shelter in January 2010, The Haven in Charlottesville continues to provide guests with shelter from the elements during the day, facilities to bathe and do laundry, and a place to receive mail and store personal items. Haven guests have the opportunity to receive vital services in a centralized location. The day shelter fills a gap in services by offering direct, on-site connections to related programs necessary to help people break the cycle of poverty.

Guests are assessed and referred to appropriate services to address mental health concerns, substance use, health care, and other basic social services, all ultimately aiming to quickly move them from homelessness into stable housing.  And that is where Piedmont Housing Alliance comes in.

Piedmont Housing Alliance counselors hold general classes at the Haven but mostly meet and work with guests one-on-one, discovering their challenges, needs, and capabilities, then coaching them on financial and housing topics. If a guest has a goal, they help them reach it, whether it is securing permanent housing, paying down a debt, or building their credit.

To gain some insight into what the guests are experiencing and what those who work at and with the Haven confront on a daily basis, a blog was created called:  “Writing from the Haven: Giving Voice to Those Who Experience Homelessness.”  The prose and poetry on the blog pages speak loudly and emotionally about the minds and hearts of those on the edges of life.  The news section of the website contains heartwarming uplifting stories of donors, guests, and amazing programs.

Donations of supplies, money, and time are vital for the Haven’s survival and very much appreciated.