The Haven shelter holds first ever open house

Published: Jan. 30, 2023 at 10:58 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The Haven in Charlottesville held its first ever ‘Community Open House’ on Monday night drawing in more than 100 people. The goal was to demystify what the shelter does and why it does it.

“We’re this big building on Market Street and people walk by it all the time. And they’re like what, what is going on in there? Right?” Executive Director Anna Mendez said.

In the 13 years since the Haven was started it has not had an open house.

“The best way to really educate the community about who we are, and what we’re doing, and why we are important was to bring people into our house,” Mendez said.

Through the work of staff and volunteers the Haven offers food, showers, laundry, and hygiene products. In 2022 the shelter served 440 individuals.

“They came into our facility and used our services more than 19,000 times, and we served more than 17,000 meals, we provided over 3,000 showers. We sorted and stored more than 1,300 pounds of mail some of which is vitally important regarding Medicaid benefits or opportunities for housing,” Mendez said.

The work doesn’t stop there, they offer many types of resources.

“Every year our housing department is moving more than 200 people, including children, out of homelessness or preventing them from having to have the experience of homelessness in the first place,” Mendez said.

Now the Haven is calling on Charlottesville city council to approve a funding proposal.

“The city of Charlottesville has never financially supported the day shelter and in order for us to keep doing the good work that we do getting that support is really crucial,” Mendez said.

The event had a box where people could leave their email and any questions they might have. The Haven promised to respond to all of them.

“We want to know what’s important to the community, and provide them the education that they want,” Mendez said.

The shelter plans to hold more public events in the future.

“We’re incredibly grateful that the community felt like it was worthwhile to spend their Monday evening with us and the words of encouragement and support that we heard across the board. from such diverse members of our community,” Mendez said.

Do you have a story idea? Send us your news tip here.