Our History and Founders
A Safe Haven Foundation
A Safe Haven is both a tale of organizational success and a personal story arc from life in an immigrant family to a position of significant wealth. But with that journey came a call to give back to the world. This organization is a product of how Brian and Neli Rowland overcame significant challenges, including Brian’s own experience with chemical dependency, to turn compassion into action. The Rowlands decided that once they had achieved some success in their personal lives, it was their goal to demonstrate to their children how to give back to the world.
What evolved was a unique, vertically integrated, innovative treatment model backed by solid research and affirmed by client testimonials. To the credit of all involved, A Safe Haven is a proven concept representing a game-changing response to the broken systems now in place. By contrast, A Safe Haven proposes to weave a new pattern of social business enterprise into the fabric of society.
Thus, A Safe Haven is a vision that came to life, a place where people in crisis can find the food, shelter, treatment, medical care, education, job training and job placement they need under one roof. We call this place A Safe Haven. It’s a model of continuous care that fulfills our mission to help people aspire, transform, and sustain their lives as they transition from homelessness to self-sufficiency with pride and purpose. If you walk down the halls and ask the people themselves how they best describe A Safe Haven, you will repeatedly hear the same three words. “It saves lives.”
A Safe Haven’s approach has been lauded as the country’s most comprehensive, state-licensed, community-based social service model. It’s proof of concept is in our numbers. Every year, A Safe Haven provides food, shelter, and services to more than 3,000 individuals, including men and women of all ages, youth, children, and veterans. We make approximately 500 job placements annually through our social business enterprises, enabling many clients to find affordable housing through our resources. It all adds up to life renewed with purpose and hope. In turn, these social and economic impacts restore lives, unite families, stabilize neighborhoods, and create vibrant, viable communities.
A Safe Haven’s model works; it can save millions of lives from the dangers of homelessness, drug addiction, and disease. We can do these things while putting money (including taxpayer dollars) to its best use while delivering a positive “return on investment” to improve society as a whole.
This is our historic opportunity to solve problems created over decades of missteps instead of leaving it to the next generation. It is not acceptable to push these problems aside or dump people into expensive and often fruitless “fixes” such as prisons, detox facilities, emergency room visits, or directionless handouts that create burdens on society rather than solutions in this world.
While there are multiple paths to recovery, A Safe Haven’s approach is one of the few solutions that holistically addresses an individual’s physical, economic, social, and spiritual needs. We provide a critical, practical, frontline defense for people in the depths of despair from emotional, mental, and financial crises. We’ve witnessed the human potential that emerges from this approach, enabling people formerly lost to drugs or living on the street to transform themselves and reclaim their lives, even to the point of fulfilling their own version of the American dream. The people we meet and assist in this process don’t need handouts; they need empowerment. We offer respect, encouragement, resources, and assistance to help people get their lives back on track.
After 28 years, Neli and Brian Rowland retired in October 2022. In honor and recognition of Neli’s unique role, vision, leadership, and stewardship to the cause and the organization, the Board of Directors honored her with the exclusive role of being named co-founder and Chairman Emeritus for A Safe Haven Foundation.