What’s The Haven?

Being in-the-know about our community is expected and good for business. I want to give you an update about TJACH (Thomas Jefferson Area Coalition for the Homeless) and The Haven at First and Market. This is rather lengthy, but should serve as a one-stop for education!

The building that now houses TJACH is The Haven (at the corner of First and Market) and is open after a massive renovation; the CO has been issued and they been serving clients for the past week or so, under a ‘soft opening’; a bigger, formal shindig is forthcoming once furniture and other infrastructure arrives, and the service providers full move into their spaces. She has hired a full-time kitchen manager, and hopes to be hiring a volunteer coordinator soon.

Who’s Homeless? There are a lot of myths and assumptions surrounding the homeless, and one of the mandates will be to educate the public about what homeless is and isn’t; here are a few:

1) 80% of people are homeless LESS THAN 2 YEARS. For most, it is a transitional issue, not a permanent state.

2) Of those 80%, 40% are homeless LESS THAN 6 MONTHS.

3) In Charlottesville City and Albemarle County, there are 387 homesless children attending school currently.

At minimum wage, an employee needs to work 114 hours a week to afford a 2-bedroom, market-value apartment in Charlottesville.

What is The Haven at First and Market?

First, it is a physical building. It will provide day-shelter (no overnight stays or temporary housing) to the region’s homeless where they can, 1) Take a shower, 2) Do laundry, 3) Have mail sent, collect checks or to have a physical, no-cost mailing address for job applications, 4) Have a safe place to go during the day to read, get out of the cold/heat/rain, relax, meet people, go to the bathroom, etc. 5) Get breakfast and/or a bag lunch for the working homeless {there are numerous places around the area serving dinner}, 6) Have a single place for social services who serve the homeless. Currently, if you are homeless and want/need to take advantage of social services, you must either walk, hitchhike, get a ride or forgo appointments for housing helping, legal aid, mental services, spread out around the city and county. The Haven will provide all those services in one place…imagine having to show property without a car! This will greatly reduce the logistical issues for most folks (especially those with children or physical issues) and help them get more services faster, hopefully reducing their homelessness time.

The Haven will house/serve the following agencies: a) PACEM b) Love, Inc. c) Region 10 will have an office d) Charlottesville Dept of Social Services e) Charlottesville Health Access f) New Home, New Life g) Legal Aid Justice Center. More agencies may come in the future.

The Haven has public space: The main sanctuary has already served as a place for sold-out Christmas musical celebration, and will be available to the public for events.

What can you do to help?

1) Become a FACEBOOK fan!

2) Get a tour of the building and understand how it serves the area so you can spread the word

3) The facility will always be in need of toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning supplies and personal hygiene items…drop anything off, anytime. 3) Provide eggs or grains (grits, oats, etc) for breakfast. The kitchen well-equipped, is an industrial dream-space and will be working with local-area food providers and chefs over time to provide job training.

4) Volunteer There are shifts from 7:00 to about 8:00 daily, in 2-4 hour increments, depending on the volunteer work (kitchen, laundry area, etc)…volunteer yourself, with your family, involve your other civic organizations or place of worship. Kaki provides a structured volunteer training for new folks, and even if it’s just a few hours once a month, they can use your help.

I hope this has been helpful; for more info, to schedule a chat for your blog/website, to volunteer or find out more, contact Kaki directly: executivedirector@tjach.org or Cell: 434-906-1691

*Editor’s note: the above was written by a friend.

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1 Comment

  1. Deborah A. Rutter January 19, 2010 at 20:39

    Great overview! The space is beautiful, especially the renovated sanctuary space, and already being used by the community for public events…

    Reply

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