Haven House Families

Since 1983, Haven House has helped more than a thousand mothers, fathers and children leave homelessness behind.

Meet the families you're helping...


These are a few of our favorite things!       

            “I love math best!”  “The play center is my favorite!”  Bryleigh and Elianna, sisters who stayed at Haven House last fall, eagerly shared their favorite parts of school with us. 
           As they look forward to the school year, we want to be sure that current and former Haven House kids have what they need to continue loving math and the play center at school.  We are in the midst of preparing for our Adopt-A-Child for Back to School program, which involves individuals and groups buying needed supplies and clothes so that Haven House kids feel great about the upcoming school year!
        During our preparations for Adopt-A- Child for Back to School, we interviewed kids from three different families who used to reside at Haven House and are now part of our Partners In Progress follow-up program.  These kids told us  about their favorite parts of school and Haven House, and we want to share them with you!  
    Unexpected life changes brought Milauge (4th grade) and Tavion (Head Start) to Haven House this winter.  Their mom worked hard each day to find  housing, and after 29 days,  and Tavion moved into a new apartment.  Milauge and Tavion told us all about school and their time at Haven House!

HH: What was your favorite thing to do at Haven House?               
Milauge: Tutoring on Thursday nights!
Tavion: Going to the playroom with the other kids.

HH: What is your favorite thing to do at school?
Milauge: Play outside at recess!
Tavion: Snack time!

HH: What do you want to be when you grow up?
Milauge:  A YouTuber
Tavion:  A Firefighter
    Next, we got to chat with Elianna (1st grade) and Bryleigh (Kindergarten).  Bryleigh and Elianna moved around quite a bit in the past few years and were living at their grandma’s house with their mom and dad before coming to Haven House. Unable to afford a place of their own, Bryleigh and Elianna’s parents called each morning at 8:00 A.M. until there was availability at our shelter.  After staying at Haven House for 27 days, Bryleigh, Elianna, and their parents were able to get into subsidized housing, where they have lived since the fall of 2018. Throughout their time at Haven House and after moving, Bryleigh and Elianna’s parents were able to keep their jobs to support their daughters.  Bryleigh and Elianna were excited to share a few of their favorite things with us!

HH: What was your favorite thing to do at Haven House?
Both:  Playroom, playroom, playroom!

HH: Where do you live now?
Bryleigh:  Here, we live here [their current apartment].

HH: What do you like about school?
Elianna:  Math!
Bryleigh:  The toy center!
 
HH: What do you want to be when you grow up?
Elianna:  A nurse
Bryleigh:  A ballerina
    We also got to talk to Arminta (3rd grade).  Arminta was living with her grandma, mom, and dad before her grandma passed away.  Unable to afford her grandma’s house on their own, Arminta and her parents came to Haven House.  After just two and a half weeks at Haven House, Arminta and her family moved into a rental house thanks to  Arminta’s parents’ hard work to accomplish the daily plan that they created with the shelter coordinators each day.  Arminta has been living in her current home since March, and loves it.

HH: What was your favorite thing to do at Haven House?
Arminta: There was a girl named Ms. Terri [one of the Shelter Coordinators at HH], and I really like her.
 
HH: Where do you live now?
Arminta:  Right here [current apartment]!
 
HH: What is your favorite part of where you live now?
Arminta: That we have a birdie!
 
HH: What do you want to be when you grow up? 
Arminta: I want to be a police or a doctor!
We loved catching up with Tavion, Milauge, Elianna, Bryleigh, and Arminta!

Brent and Ashley's Story

The pleasure in Brent and Ashley’s family life often comes from the natural world:  walking in the woods with their three boys has long been a favorite activity. But for   years, financial stress and lack of a permanent home made it difficult to enjoy even simple pleasures.
 
Ashley and Brent had never had a place of their own before.  While raising three boys, they bounced between temporary stays with family. Finally having worn out their options last summer, they moved to a campground.
 
With winter on the way, Ashley and Brent began even more fervently pursuing a stable environment for their three sons.  They felt out of their element in searching for housing and knew they needed help reaching financial stability.  “We were at our very rock bottom, with nothing but a few possessions,” remembers Ashley.
 
Like hundreds of families in the Lansing area, they needed Haven House—but with our seven bedrooms full, they were among dozens calling day after day, seeking a room in our shelter. Ashley and Brent called every day at eight in the morning for two weeks straight before there was finally a space available for their family.  Ashley recalls the relief she felt when they entered shelter: “We were invited to stay at Haven House. They helped us build the foundation for our new lives.”

While in shelter, Ashley and Brent were both able to secure and maintain employment. They worked opposite schedules so that one of them would always be available to watch their boys, ages five, four and one. The couple worked hard to create a routine for their children and spent time every day searching for a home of their own. Each day, Haven House staff met with the parents to help them stay on track with their goals. Ashley says, “Haven House was in fact the biggest blessing of our lives. If it weren’t for the staff from Haven House we would still be homeless and hopeless.”
 
Like hundreds of families in the Lansing area, they needed Haven House—but with our seven bedrooms full, they were among dozens calling day after day, seeking a room in our shelter. Ashley and Brent called every day at eight in the morning for two weeks straight before there was finally a space available for their family.  Ashley recalls the relief she felt when they entered shelter: “We were invited to stay at Haven House. They helped us build the foundation for our new lives.”

While in shelter, Ashley and Brent were both able to secure and maintain employment. They worked opposite schedules so that one of them would always be available to watch their boys, ages five, four and one. The couple worked hard to create a routine for their children and spent time every day searching for a home of their own. Each day, Haven House staff met with the parents to help them stay on track with their goals. Ashley says, “Haven House was in fact the biggest blessing of our lives. If it weren’t for the staff from Haven House we would still be homeless and hopeless.”

While they hoped to move to a more rural area of town, affordable housing in these areas was hard to find, so the couple focused their housing search in the City of Lansing. Exactly one month after entering shelter, Ashley and Brent moved into their first apartment.  They have both sustained the employment they found while in shelter, with Brent advancing to a full-time position and Ashley taking on a second part-time job.
 
By maintaining consistent employment, and paying rent and other bills on time every month, the couple has significantly improved life for their family. All of this was possible thanks to your support of Haven House’s successful rehousing program. Six months into tenancy in their first apartment, Ashley and Brent received the exciting news that they were at long last being selected from a waiting list to participate in a subsidized housing program for low-income families.
 
Unfortunately, their apartment—which they liked, and had begun to feel like home—was not eligible for this program. But Ashley and Brent realized the long-term positive impact that subsidized housing would have for their family’s financial stability.  So, with the help of Haven House’s Partners in Progress program, they once again worked to find a new home for their family which would qualify for this ongoing rent-assistance.
 
With careful planning, they worked hard to save the money they would need: the fee to break their lease, plus first-month’s rent and security deposit for their new subsidized unit. Through difficulty and determination, they found their home on the outskirts of the town they had dreamt of moving to. This was a  major accomplishment for a family who had been homeless less than one year ago.

Ashley and Brent look forward to staying in this home for the next several years. In the meantime, they are already planning their next long-term goal: home ownership. Ashley, Brent and the boys successfully engaged with Haven House’s programs to overcome their housing crisis and reach a home of their own. Their oldest two boys are excited to have their pet snake and frog with them and to explore their neighborhood, finding more creatures along the way.


Brandi's Story 

Brandi, a working single mom with dreams of becoming a nurse, is a former Haven House resident. Despite holding a job and her own best efforts, Brandi found herself unable to provide her children with the security of a home. Early last year, complications from her pregnancy led Brandi to a one-month hospital stay.
 
To make things even worse, the joy of giving birth to her son was quickly accompanied by concerns over her newborn’s own medical issues. Brandi continued to spend time by her son’s side until he was eventually discharged. During this time, she was replaced at work.
 
Although Brandi was able to find a new job after her son’s release from the hospital, the hours did not provide enough income to secure a home. Brandi’s family moved in with a relative for a short stay, but it was a tight and increasingly stressful situation for all. Brandi was anxious to get back on her feet again. She needed to find a home of her own—but she needed help. 

Thanks to your support, a call to Haven House made all the difference. You provided Brandi and her children the shelter, compassionate support, help with budgeting, and fresh beginning they needed. You gave Brandi’s family hope and the opportunity to jump-start their life again by making crucial services possible.

Brandi continued to work as many hours as she could during her stay in shelter. In a little over a month, she moved her family into their own rental! And thanks to the services you provided, on the day she moved Brandi was confident that her budget planning would allow her to remain stable in her new home.

Brandi attends classes at a local community college and is working hard toward her goal of becoming a nurse. She continues to care for her children and provide for their needs. Since reaching home, Brandi has been careful to systematically pay off her debt. She also watched her credit score improve during her year-long participation in our unique Partners in Progress follow-up program.
 
Thanks to your kindness, Brandi now has a hopeful future and new outlook on life!


Clara's Story  

Motivated, strong, and resilient: these are just a few words that describe Clara, who worked her first job at age 12 and left home at 13.  She learned at a very early age how to survive and take care of herself.

After ending an unhealthy relationship last year, she found herself the sole financial supporter of her family and struggled to afford housing and other expenses on her own.  After losing her housing and having nowhere else to go with her two children, she gratefully accepted shelter for her family at Haven House.

Because Clara’s son was 15, he was considered too old to be with his mom and sister at any other local shelter. Haven House is the only shelter in the Lansing area that could keep the family together so they were not forced to separate.  Clara remembers the time well: “It was hard being a single parent with no help but Haven House opened the doors for my family.”

While in shelter, Clara worked and saved money.  Clara was independent, using guidance from our staff to follow up on her goals to regain a permanent home. She got along well with other parents in shelter, setting a positive example with the results of her diligent budgeting and housing search: In less than five weeks, Clara moved her family out of shelter and back into a rental home of her own.

After getting settled into their new housing, Clara became an active participant in Haven House’s Partners in Progress program.  She used her tax refund to buy her own furniture, curtains and other items to make her house a home.  Her employment status has gone from temporary, part-time to permanent, full-time.  This comes with a well-earned pay raise for Clara.  She consistently pays her bills on time and follows her monthly budget to make sure she prioritizes housing and other necessary expenses. 

“I am so appreciative of the donors who helped my family by giving us a nice Christmas and helping with back-to-school clothes, a backpack and school supplies for my son.”  Clara is referring to our holiday Adopt-a-Family and back-to-school Adopt-a-Child programs.  With your help, Clara was able to focus on her rent and utilities while still enjoying these seasonal milestones with her kids. At a recent visit in her home, Clara reflected “Haven House donors are so generous!”

Clara plans to remain in her current housing for a couple more years and may down-size once her children are out of the home.  For now, she’s trying to work hard, stay healthy and enjoy her life—she is an inspiration for parents currently in our shelter.


Logan's Story

Logan is no stranger to staying busy. Being a mom of four small children, and working long hours as a waitress to support her family, has made her an ace at time management. From the moment Logan and her children entered Haven House, she worked hard to meet her goals quickly. She successfully worked two jobs while in shelter, saved money, and secured her own affordable housing for her family again.

Logan had struggled to maintain housing for herself and the kids after their father left the family. She and her kids tried staying with family members, but knew they needed to get into a home of their own again. Logan feels she would not have been able to get her children into their own home so quickly without the help you provided through our shelter and re-housing programs. As Logan says, "The staff at Haven House taught me how to manage my money. Everyone was so helpful."

 

Since leaving shelter for their own home, Logan's family has been one of our Partners in Progress. Parents in this program complete a monthly budget to help focus on paying rent and utilities before other expenses. They also receive support working toward short- and long-term goals, and get updates on local resources. Logan is very grateful for the generosity of donors for the hygiene items and cleaning supplies she receives through your support of this crucial follow-up program.

Now that Logan has gotten her family comfortable in their new home, she plans to further her education. She believes a career in the medical field is her calling, as a chance to pay forward the good will she has received. Logan practices patience and understanding with her children and those around her. She feels that these skills are transferable with how she wants to earn a living.

Logan said, "During my stay at Haven House, I learned from the stories of other families in the same situation. The families supported each other and it was a very positive environment." Logan is a great example of how hard work and dedication can lead to success!


Latoya's Story

When Latoya came to Haven House, she had no other choice to keep her family together: no other local shelter would allow her 16 year old son to stay together with her and her daughter. The crisis began suddenly.

Flames leapt quickly from the wiring to the curtains. Before long Latoya's home was engulfed. Everyone was safe—for now. But Latoya’s home had been completely destroyed by the fire.  At the time, she was working two part-time jobs and was keeping up with rent and bills, but had not been able to build up any savings. To keep her family together and safely sheltered, Latoya had only one option: Haven House is the lonely local shelter that will not split up a teenage boy and his mom.

Latoya, her teen son and young daughter came to Haven House with little more than the clothes on their backs. But she was determined to make the most of her time in shelter.  With your help, in less than three weeks Latoya was able to secure a new rental. At Haven House she worked on not only saving up for a new rental, but also identified and sought additional resources to supplement her wages.

 

When Latoya and her family reached their new home, it was unfurnished. But thanks to Haven House donors like you, she now has proper beds for herself and the kids. Since reaching their new home, Latoya’s family has received a visit from our staff each month. As part of this Partners in Progress follow-up program, you helped Latoya with basic needs like supplies for house-cleaning and hygiene, and guidance with financial planning.

Latoya successfully maintains both jobs and closely follows the monthly budget she has figured out thanks to the budgeting skills you’ve provided. Any of her free time lately has been spent working on securing her GED, which she hopes to earn by next year. You kept Latoya’s family together and helped them through a crisis. Now, because of the shelter and assistance you gave, she is ready to start the next chapter of her life.


Sue's Path to Success
“Seek Employment and Housing Non-Stop”

In December of 2014, Sue entered Haven House with her two young sons after leaving her housing due to an unsafe environment. With the guidance of the Haven House program, Sue secured affordable housing for her family again. Sue has been in the same rental for almost three years!

Since her stay at Haven House, Sue has married and had another child. She continues her busy life balancing work, college classes in Health Care Case Management and taking care of her family.

Her husband Lance assists with financially supporting the family through his employment as well. Sue has become a donor to Haven House, bringing hygiene supply items to shelter that she collects through her couponing expertise. Sue looks forward to helping others save money by teaching them the art of couponing, too

Sue’s advice for families in a homeless situation is “don’t be afraid to ask for help, seek employment and housing non-stop, and follow the Haven House program—because it works.”


John and Angela Tell Their Story

Over three years ago, the Smiths were facing multiple crises: "We had a house fire...all the property was completely destroyed. The smoke destroyed it all," John remembers (names have been changed).

Other shelters could take Angela and the girls, "but not us together." Haven House welcomed the family, including John who at the time was also recovering from being struck by a car. "I had a traumatic brain injury.  They were very open...it was remarkable, they worked with us really well." Angela says that while in shelter, our re-housing program became"the foundation for everything we have, as far as learning how to be better with money. Not just to budget, but to plan."

"There's been a rollercoaster of situations in our life," Angela explains. "The house we're in now, we've been there for two years, almost two-and-a-half." John added that our follow-up program contributed to the family gaining long-term stability after leaving shelter for a home of their own again. "There was continuous checking in, help managing money, that was really helpful for us."

Angela says that successfully completing Haven House's shelter and re-housing programs required significant effort on their part, saying "the program works, if you actually work." Even though John and Angela have successfully completed our Partners in Progress program, they remain grateful for the skills they gained from our staff, which they use every day to organize and improve their own lives. So even now, more than two years after leaving shelter, Angela still says "Haven House--they're helping us."  
Donate now to help a family >>

 


Demario and Sabrina

In the spring of 2016, Demario and Sabrina were both seeking work, and were quickly falling behind on their bills. When they could no longer keep up with rent, the family found themselves seeking temporary shelter.

Haven House was the only shelter that allowed them to stay together with their children without having to separate. While in shelter, both parents worked hard to get a budget planned and seek housing options while still trying to secure employment.

As a result of their hard work and perseverance they were able to secure affordable housing in less than thirty days.  With the guidance your support makes possible through our re-housing program, Sabrina quickly obtained employment at a local restaurant chain and Demario is also working, at a factory in Lansing.  Since moving to their own home, both parents have been active participants in our Partners in Progress program which helps them set and achieve long-term goals.

 

They successfully maintain their housing by following the monthly budget they have identified and making sure their rent and utilities are paid on time every month before other expenses. Demario and Sabrina feel that the community in Lansing has been very supportive for them. Your support has helped them through this transition and they are very grateful. 

It has been comforting for them to see their children make friends with their neighbors and hope to see these relationships continue over the years. Demario said this is the first time they have had the space of a home (instead of an apartment) in a quiet neighborhood.

Demario and Sabrina are proud that their children see them going to work every day and feel this teaches them how to be independent.  Their advice for other families is to “stay focused and just do what you have to do.”

 


Shelly's Story

In the winter of 2015, Shelly moved her family into a home after saving for over a year to have the rent, security deposit and other move in costs covered. After just four months living there, Shelly found out her landlord had been renting her home illegally, with numerous health and safety violations. Due to unsafe conditions, Shelly and her kids had to leave home immediately. She did not have enough savings to secure a new rental so quickly.

Eventually sleeping on a relative’s floor in another county, Shelly was losing all hope for a normal life for her children. It was getting increasingly difficult to transport the children to and from school while Shelly continued to work. Shelly diligently called our shelter every morning for two weeks--every bed in our shelter was full—and eventually room became available. Shelly says each time she called to see if there was space for her family at Haven House, “the staff and volunteers who answered the phone were friendly and caring.” This gave Shelly hope that Haven House would be a positive environment for her kids during this difficult time.

They had never been to a shelter before and Shelly was concerned how her children would respond. Thanks to your support, from the day Shelly and her family entered Haven House she found relief and opportunity. Having other children there whose families were in similar homeless situations was relaxing for her children. Shelly shared information on local landlords and available rentals with the other parents in shelter. After viewing numerous rentals, Shelly found a landlord that she felt understood her situation and had a home that was perfect for her family. Shelly feels that the staff and volunteers at Haven House were extremely supportive with helping her move and very much appreciated the household items she received when she exited shelter to move into her new housing. These household items included dishes, pots and pans, cooking utensils, towels, blankets, sheets and general hygiene and cleaning supplies, which are all items made available to Haven House residents through the generosity of donors.

This April, Shelly and her kids celebrated one year in their new home. Shelly was impressed with all of the help that Haven House provided her family after they left shelter as well. They were invited back to Haven House for special events and her children really liked that. When Shelly’s extended family members saw how hard Shelly worked to get her family through this stressful situation and back into housing, and all the support she received from Haven House, they too became more supportive of her. Shelly has been an active participant in the Partners in Progress program and successfully maintained her housing for a year. We are so proud of Shelly!


 

All photos and videos are of actual former clients of Haven House. Some names have been changed.

Make a donation today to help another family in need.