Thank you! Two small words that have enormous meanings behind them. My heart is filled with gratitude to all our partners, funders, contributors and staff. The mission of A Safe Haven shines brightly through the contributions of your time, talents, and (thankfully) treasure. I am in constant awe of the stewardship and sharing you have all directed to A Safe Haven.
In my new role as President, I continue to be overwhelmed daily by your dedication and passion for helping individuals experiencing homelessness, addictions, health disparities, unemployment, and all the impacts of poverty. Your outpouring of support has made it possible for us to house, treat, feed, and provide vocational training to our residents. This support provides them with the needed resources to alter their current condition and begin a new journey towards stability and health, helping our residents and their families and communities.
We are constantly made aware of the challenges we face as a nation. The news is harsh and often hard to hear.
- Over half of a million individuals and families experience homelessness and live on the streets, in cars, or in shelters.
- The opioid crisis, particularly the devastating impact of fentanyl, takes a toll on families as they lose their loved ones to addiction.
- Poverty—and all the associated disparities—continues to impact cities, large and small, across the US.
- Over 25% of children go to bed without adequate nutrition.
- Increasing numbers of people are affected by mental illness.
While getting discouraged when so many challenges impact our communities is easy, we must be aware that there is uplifting and encouraging news to share!
In 2022, A Safe Haven created new stories:
- We served over 3,500 individuals (men, women, and children) experiencing homelessness.
- We provided services (housing, treatment, vocational training, education, and emergency support) to approximately 500 Veterans.
- We opened two new Veteran permanent housing developments in Chicago, Illinois, and Hobart, Indiana, providing permanent housing to 150 formerly homeless Veterans.
- We provided support services and permanent housing to approximately 220 families.
- We expanded the delivery of mental health services, addiction treatment, vocational training, and educational services—totaling over 41,000 hours of direct services.
- We provided support, safety, and services to over 100 individuals in our domestic violence outreach program.
- We provided over 430 individuals with training and placement in a job; these jobs are their pathway to supporting their families and becoming independent.
- We served over 432,000 meals at our facilities.
- We provided food to over 600 families in our community through our weekly food pantry.
Just recently, we celebrated the holidays by providing a full Thanksgiving meal, with all the trimmings, to every resident of A Safe Haven and our supportive housing residents. We also provided a group of 130 Venezuelan refugees, located at a shelter provided by the State, their first Thanksgiving dinner. We were humbled to learn it was their first hot meal since arriving in Chicago.
Additionally, through your generous donations and outreach:
- All adults received a special holiday gift of a new coat, clothing, warm blankets, socks, toiletries, and other needed items.
- Every child in our programs and supportive housing units, was able to ask Santa for that special gift—and also received some extras!
- Residents in our senior housing program received gifts for their grandchildren who visit over the holidays.
- Every program building had a holiday party to celebrate the season and the progress they achieved.
And on, and on, and on. The good news at A Safe Haven keeps on coming!
2023 will be a year of growth and opportunity. We will expand our mental health and addiction services by opening a community outpatient treatment center. We will bring on new job training programs that provide living wage employment opportunities. We will expand our housing resources. We will also focus on our amazing staff to ensure that those who are steadfastly serving others are cared for. And, as always, we will continue to provide opportunity and hope to all who enter our facilities. We hope you will continue to join us on this adventure.
On a personal note, I would like to thank you for all your well wishes especially. In transitioning from COO to President of A Safe Haven, I have been humbled by all the kind words of support and encouragement that have come my way. I am living my life’s passion and have been blessed with my wife Diane, family, supporters, and my amazing work family to continue this journey. I am thankful for all who continue to keep the entire A Safe Haven family in their thoughts and prayers.
I look forward to the coming new year and sharing all the great work that is happening here. Until then, I wish you and your family a blessed holiday season and a prosperous New Year.