Many of us may never know what it’s like to be without—without a home, a job, or food. But there are thousands of people who have nowhere to turn due to obstacles in their path that left them tittering on the precipice of life. Those who are faced with living on the street have found one place that will put them on the road to a new start, a place that will give them skills to survive, a place that will be A Safe Haven.
In 1994, Neli Vazquez-Rowland and her husband, Brian, decided that their mission in life was not in the big-money, financial world where they built their careers, but in giving a hand to those who need a hand. “To see people coming through our programs that were really down on their luck, obviously have no hope because they’ve had so many doors shut, so many things that have gone wrong in their lives,… having somewhere to go every day in terms of having a job where they can support themselves, there is no better feeling in the world,” explains Neli Vazquez-Rowland, president and co-founder of A Safe Haven Foundation (ASHF) in Chicago, Illinois.
She leads a comprehensive social enterprise where people go to receive myriad social services. “As opposed to having people run all over the city trying to figure out where they’re going to eat…to sleep…to get job training…to get treatment and what are they going to do with their kids while they do all of that—here is a one-stop-shop,” says Vazquez-Rowland.
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