2018 Billboard Advertisement

A Safe Haven Launches a Powerful Inaugural Billboard Advertisement

On the Inbound Western Suburban to Chicago 290 Expressway

Known as “Heroin Highway”

Chicago, IL (December 10, 2018) The 290 Expressway has been dubbed “The Heroin Highway”.  Since at least 2010, it has been widely reported on the *news that the 290 expressway is used by both drug dealers, who haul it all the way from Mexico, and the drug users from the western suburbs, including Dupage and Kane counties, who make the desperate trek to Chicago’s west side to obtain their drugs.

Not by coincidence, A Safe Haven flagship behavioral healthcare center, serving those in recovery and homeless, is situated in North Lawndale– the epicenter of the Heroin Highway, an oasis in the desert, and one of the best places in the world to get access to a full suite of services that are customized to meet the needs of the individual suffering with diseases of substance use.

A Safe Haven was founded in 1994 and became the first licensed recovery home in the State of Illinois.  The 140,000 ft state of the art facility serves as the flagship location with 400 beds dedicated to meeting the needs of populations in behavioral healthcare crisis, from the spectrum of mental health issues including depression and substance abuse issues to unstable economic and housing conditions.

We truly do everything we can to live up to our name and to provide a place that is conducive to long term recovery from opioid, heroin and other substance abuse disorders and other complex co-existing social, economic and housing conditions.

While historically A Safe Haven brand culture strives to be inspiring and positive, this is the first time we invested in an ad that is communicated in an emotional and direful tone; this inaugural ad strikes a chord and provides a new approach to raising awareness and financial support to help us meet this truly urgent and deadly crisis that is causing tremendous pent-up demand for our services. Its purpose is to move people into action to help us do more by getting involved and giving support.

Over 80% of donations are made in the month of December before the end of the year, for tax purposes. Illinoisans are some of the most generous donors in the world, and the silver lining within the crisis is that today more wealthy donors, that have been touched personally by the diseases of addiction, are inspired to turn their pain into purpose and consider channeling more of their giving to real and urgent solutions.

A Safe Haven’s growth has been organic, and demand driven.  Today, A Safe Haven is an anchor organization serving over 5,000 people a year with dozens of related supportive housing and affordable housing facilities located throughout the Chicagoland area and several social enterprises including staffing, catering and the best-known landscaping company renown for planting the bountiful tulips along Michigan avenue.  Their businesses employ formerly homeless residents with barriers to employment to get them back to work.

Looking at Chicago’s high crime rate, we understand that a significant part of the crime and violence is rooted in the ecosystem whose common denominator is poverty, drug trade and the usage that fuels it, and gangs who make their money that way.  By moving people into a model that helps heal root causes and moves them back into the workforce, we are in fact reducing and eliminating the main issues that are causing many of the mental, behavioral healthcare and economic conditions of the people that are both the perpetrators and the victims of the vast majority of the crime and violence occurring in the city.

A Safe Haven is also an award-winning model, whose co-founder Neli Vazquez Rowland has previously been recognized by Chicago Magazine as a Chicagoan of the Year and by The White House as a Champion of Change.  Recently she has been recognized by the Institute of Medicine of Chicago for best “healthcare to behavioral healthcare innovation” and by Harmony Health as Community Advocate of the Year.

To most donors, however, A Safe Haven is not a well-known charity. The face of homelessness due to the disease of addiction has always come from every background and economic strata. Though many choose to turn away from this fact, it caused Neli and Brian Rowland, the founders, to make a radical change in their life from pursuing their established and lucrative careers in finance to starting a concept that they felt was desperately needed to address what would become America’s worst nightmare and deadliest epidemic in history.

We hope that, as they consider their charitable giving, they will consider the fact that most homeless people we serve may have one day been their neighbors too.

We hope that the ad helps achieve more than support and donations to the cause; equally important is raising awareness to people that are addicted, who drive into the city in search of drugs, too see the ad and find the courage to find their way to A Safe Haven instead. Finally, we hope that parents driving into the city on 290 for the holidays, who view the ad, pause and check in with their family members that may be prone to behavioral healthcare or economic challenges, that they have meaningful conversations around the perils of drug use, and let them know that they care about their well-being.

In addition to the Billboard, A Safe Haven placed an ad in Crain’s Chicago Business, set for December 24th, 2018 publication, including thanking some of their supporters like Boeing, Enova, ABC 7, 101.9 The Mix, Crown Family Philanthropies, and simultaneously released an A Safe Haven Real People, Real Problems, Real Solutions branded YouTube video on social media including Facebook and Twitter.  The jarring message on the video is a voice of a real phone call from a Heroin addict whose calls for help have gone unanswered due to budgetary and capacity limitations at A Safe Haven.

A Safe Haven is currently experiencing pent up demand for services and many calls are going unanswered. We hope that with an investment in ads for the first time more people will learn about A Safe Haven and consider joining us in our vision and mission to amplify and scale our ability to help others.