Dear Friend of Haven House,
Last March, as schoolchildren across Michigan were sent home, you, me, and our neighbors were told to stay home to stay safe. This holiday season we are
heeding a similar call. But ask yourself, how do you stay safe without a place to call home?
Larry and his son Andrew faced this question as they found themselves without a home over the summer. More families are continuing to deal with this challenge
even now as I write this letter to you, with winter close upon us. Despite attempts to prevent eviction, families are still homeless in our community. We answer calls from families every day who are experiencing or on the brink of homelessness. Some had been staying with friends or relatives no longer able to provide a place for a second family in their homes. Larry had already fallen behind on his rent from a change in wages and missing shifts to care for Andrew when he was laid off from his job in the auto industry during the statewide lockdown.
For this single dad and his son, the eviction moratorium didn’t come into effect soon enough, and their belongings were placed on the street. When Larry called Haven House, he explained he and Andrew had been evicted, he had no income, and no fixed address to call home: he could not find a safe place for him and his 14 year old son to go.
Larry told our staff that he will never forget the feeling he had as his son looked to him for protection, while feeling they were out of options. In desperation Larry found a teen shelter where at least Andrew could sleep temporarily. Each night Larry would drop Andrew off, and sleep in his vehicle in the driveway for the remainder of the night. Bright and early the next morning, Andrew would emerge to, facing another day homeless with his dad.
Daytime temperatures in March were not warm, and the opportunity to use businesses for daytime warmth and shelter were limited as so many were closed under the pandemic restrictions. Larry and Andrew spent most of their time in their family vehicle, traveling between recreational parks and business parking lots. Larry heard about Haven House from a friend and started to call each day.
After a week of calling to seek shelter, a room opened up and Larry and Andrew were finally able to sleep under one roof again. Because of the support and generosity of donors, Haven House is there to provide safe shelter accommodations in a hotel as part of our adapted services.
Larry was committed to providing a home to stay together with his son. Each day while sheltered, Larry searched for a rental and for a job as he continued to be laid off. Like many families with a prior eviction, Larry found most landlords unwilling to consider renting to him. This already difficult task was further complicated
since at that time all housing tours and application processes were taking place virtually. Larry was grateful at least for his vehicle and phone, and did his best to job- and house-hunt while keeping Andrew’s spirits up. He knew some families had it even worse.
Time felt like it was at a stand-still for this father and son. After a week in shelter, Larry was hired at a local grocery store. Yet his search for housing continued for another two weeks. Finally Larry was able to find a landlord willing to offer them a rental. He will never forget the relief of walking in the door for the first time.
It’s your support that gave Larry and Andrew shelter and assistance in stabilizing their life. Whether it is through shelter, eviction prevention efforts, or by supporting the stability of formerly homeless families in our follow-up program, more families continue to need this support today.
Low income families are facing unprecedented hardship. You have the opportunity to provide relief. Please send your support with a gift. I thank you for your past support and ask that you continue to keep families safe, and provide hope for those in crisis.
I wish you and your own loved ones health and happiness now and in the new year.