And the CommUnity Hero Awards: Advocacy Award Goes to… Neli Rowland Vazquez!


Chicago, IL, June 14, 2018–On Thursday, June 14, 2018, Neli Vazquez Rowland, President of A Safe Haven Foundation, was recognized with the prestigious community Advocacy Award at the 2018 Awards Ceremony, by Harmony Health Plan, Inc. Harmony President, Chuck Beeman, presented the award at the ceremony, and the event was emceed by celebrity V103 Radio personality, Jeanne Sparrow.

Neli Vazquez Rowland was honored among other community leaders including awardees of the various areas including: Healthcare: Beulah Brent, Chief Executive Officer, Sisters Working it Out; Education: Faye Stevens, Leader, Girls with a Vision; Community Support: Jermaine Lawrence Anderson, Executive Officer, I am A Gentleman, Inc; Government Policy: Senator Heather Steams, Illinois State Senator, 7th District.

The evening’s entertainment included K-Love the Poet with a beautiful and moving spoken word performance about vision, perseverance and faith. Closing the night was Praize Productions, Inc’s energizing dance performance, and thoughtful remarks by Miguel Torres, Senior Director of Field Sales and Marketing, Harmony Health Plan.

Harmony’s missions and visions are aligned with A Safe Haven Foundation, as both organizations prioritize the critical importance of the physical healthcare to behavioral healthcare continuum of care. Additionally, they serve similar constituents.  Vazquez Rowland is confident about the strength of a growing partnership between them.

The timing of this connection is ideal, as A Safe Haven takes on a new, recently announced, partnership with HUD in its role as an EnVision Center, serving as a central hub where hundreds of providers will be available to offer services for individuals and families, especially HUD-assisted residents, meeting their needs in housing and HUD’s four pillars: Economic Empowerment, Educational Advancement, Health and Wellness, and Character and Leadership. Neli enjoyed the entire event, but she notes that the best part was connection with like-minded leaders.

Ms. Vazquez Rowland was proud to be represented as a Community Hero. With the work A Safe Haven does each and every day to transform lives from poverty and homelessness to sustained self-sufficiency, through a unique and robust, comprehensive healthcare delivery service model; she and her team, including her husband and A Safe Haven Co-Founder Brian Rowland, work to realize the dream of each American having a place to come to heal, reach their full potential, and move on to a life of self-sufficiency to care for themselves, their families, and their communities.

Neli believes we all share a collective responsibility to ensure that future generations do not have to repeat the suffering and inequities of the past. A Safe Haven is proof of concept that transforming lives, shifting the paradigm, disrupting the status quo; and reversing devastating cycles of homelessness, food insecurity, unemployment, lack of access to resources, and addiction to opioids and other dangerous substances; is a very realistic and achievable goal, that we repeat every single day at A Safe Haven.

“It was a huge honor to be recognized by one of the most respected healthcare providers in the State of Illinois and beyond.  Their work and mission is keenly focused on LIFTING UP the lives of those in need. We know by doing so, it not only lifts them, but it lifts us all.  To be successful they can’t do it alone, and neither can we.  We are super excited and ready to embrace new legislative changes that help public and private insurance cover people to move seamlessly from physical healthcare to a state-licensed community-based residential recovery center, including Harmony and A Safe Haven, to work together to help our most vulnerable neighbors to get well, have jobs and homes, help their families, and succeed for the long-term. In addition, A Safe Haven was recently chosen as one of 17 National EnVision Centers. Serving as a central hub for hundreds of service providers, this role streamlines the process for public housing residents by addressing areas like housing, education, healthcare, and employment in one place, and enhances A Safe Haven’s ability to consistently transform lives to their highest level of independence, which requires us to have more ‘best in class’ partners that have the commitment and the ability to focus on what we each do best on behalf of our mutual constituents.” ̶ Neli Vazquez Rowland

“Harmony Health Plan is proud to recognize the work that Neli and our other winners do to enrich our local communities and help our members live better, healthier lives.  According to her nominator, the mission of rebuilding lives from crisis is Neli’s passion and Harmony applauds her for this. When the doors try to close, our winners continue to try to open them. When the reach is too far, they stretch themselves. Their tireless efforts and dedication have helped so many access vital services and resources”- Chuck Beeman