A Safe Haven, Small Business Advocacy Council Announce Historic Fundraising Challenge Partnership: “Rebuilding Lives & Businesses”


(Chicago, Illinois) Nov. 13, 2020—A Safe Haven (ASH), a top Chicago anchor organization serving the homeless, and Small Business Advocacy Council (SBAC), an Illinois-based advocacy organization fighting for the small business community, recently announced their partnership in creating a joint year-end fundraising challenge campaign called “Rebuilding Lives & Businesses.”

Their partnership and joint fundraising challenge will help raise urgent resources to prevent and address the fast-rising issue of homelessness and the need to help advocate and support policies that will help small businesses rebuild in the aftermath of COVID-19.

During a recent press conference, Illinois State Rep. LaShawn K. Ford who represents the 8th District in Chicago said while Governor J.B. Pritzker “is doing a great job in sending the message about how we can mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in the state of Illinois, we also have to have a plan and strategy to deal with and support and mitigate the impact that COVID-19 is having on small businesses and the homeless population in Illinois.”

A Safe Haven President and Co-Founder Neli Vazquez Rowland stressed the urgency of helping the homeless and small business owners weather what has been described by city and Illinois leaders as a “COVID storm.”

From her research, Vazquez Rowland said, “studies show that 55 percent of the small businesses right now may not reopen post-COVID-19. That means that everyone who worked at these businesses may be facing the possibility of losing their home, their livelihoods, and their ability to support themselves and their families. A Safe Haven is the last stop for these people. We (homeless organizations) are the last stop that keeps them from living on the streets.”

She added: “I can tell you right now that there are projections across the country that there is the possibility that there will be a 40% increase in the number of homeless. If that’s true, then prior to COVID-19, we had over 86,000 people who fit the definition of being homeless right here in the Chicagoland area… At A Safe Haven, we’re so proud to know that in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, not only have we been able to continue to provide housing, food and wraparound services to over 1,400 people on a daily basis but we’ve also opened a COVID-19 Medical Respite Center in partnership with Rush University Healthcare System and the Chicago Public Health Department (CDPH) to make sure that anyone who tested positive for COVID-19 had a place to come to isolate.”

Small Business Advocacy Council President and Co-Founder Elliott Richardson is proud of the partnership with ASH.

“These are extremely difficult times for people, families, and for local communities,” he said. “Many of you may know someone who’s lost their job because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of you may know businesses that have not been able to make it. The winter looks like it’s going to be very long for the small business community, local communities, and families because there’s a resurgence of cases.  Together, A Safe Haven and the SBAC are raising funds to help advocate for policies that will keep people employed and help unemployed individuals facing the prospect of homelessness.”

Rotary Club of Chicago President Erik Cempel explained that both A Safe Haven and SBAC have longstanding partnerships with its club and is supportive of this campaign.

“The Rebuilding Lives & Businesses campaign that was just announced really encapsulates exactly what Rotary is about,” Cempel said. “In fact, many of our members run small businesses and we know many of them are hurting now as well. We find it critical to support them. As we are also fundamentally a service organization, we also support initiatives to end homelessness and everything that goes with those initiatives such as promoting education and preventing disease. Rotary looks forward to promoting this campaign.”

Corporate sponsors and the public can help by contributing to the “Rebuilding Lives & Businesses” fundraiser by visiting this link to make online contributions.