To put it plainly, homelessness in the midst of plenty is a travesty that should not exist.
Many people will make their beds tonight in the woods of White Pine, Cathy’s Creek, Pisgah Forest and in cars scattered throughout the parking lots of Transylvania County. They have lost their homes and they have lost hope.
Who are the homeless?
There are two definitions of homelessness. The McKinney Vinto definition and the HUD definition.
The McKinney Vinto definition covers people that may be doubled up or couch surfing while the HUD definition covers those that are literally homeless, sleeping in their car, tent, or on the street.
The options these unfortunate men, women, and families face are few and grim. A disturbing number of people experiencing homelessness in our county are women and children.
Transylvania County Schools tracks the number of school-age children who are homeless or precariously housed at sometime during the school year. On average, there are 150 such students each year. Most students fall under the McKinney Vinto definition of homelessness and are able to stay with friends and/or family.
The Haven typically serves those that are literally homeless that have no other place to go.
What is The Haven and Haven Family House?
The Haven is an 18 bed overnight shelter to temporarily house homeless men and women. It provides a respite for those who have been suddenly and unexpectedly fallen into homelessness or have been chronically homeless for a long time. The Haven is a safe, secure residence where they can be helped to get back onto their feet.
The Haven Family House is a four bedroom house renovated to provide a safe, secure home for families that are in crisis. Many of these families can no longer afford housing on their own.
Both shelters have laundry facilities, showers, mail service and telephone messaging services. The open floor plan at The Haven makes it possible for trained volunteers and professional staff to monitor activity throughout the early evening and night.
How does The Haven help?
The shelters provide a warm and inviting atmosphere, where the guests are treated with dignity and genuine caring. Staff helps our guests figure out how they got here and what steps they need to take to move on to stable, affordable housing. The staff of The Haven will refer clients to community agencies that provide needed counseling, medical and dental issues, GED and in several instances employment. Guests are expected to complete goal plans and move forward to bettering their life.
The Haven and Haven Family House are located behind The Bread of Life, which allows both food and shelter needs to be met in one place. This location is also adjacent to the Sharing House, where clothing and other food sources are available. Department of Social Services and Meridian Behavioral Health are also close on the map to this locale. The Haven collaborates with community agencies devoted to helping people in need.
The Haven Thomas House and Haven Family House provides structure. Guests of The Haven leave in the morning Monday – Saturday at 8:30 am and can return at 4 pm, but are required to be in by 7 pm. During the day, clients are expected to complete goals such as applying for housing and work, attending Meridian (counseling), completing GED, and other goals as set per individual. The Haven Family House is set up to allow families to stay in all day and are also required to complete goals as set per individual family.
The Haven Thomas House and Haven Family House have a zero tolerance for drugs and alcohol and screen residents upon entry doing a background check. Potential clients must not have recent felonies or have violent crimes on their record.