Last month a former shelter guest who stayed with us 30 years ago came back to the Haven for a visit. He had stayed with us in the little farmhouse (Hixon House adult shelter now sits on part of its original foundation today) back in 1984 after the place he was staying in Royalton had burned down.
Homeless. It’s an evocative word, one that conjures up images of a dirty, shaggy‐bearded man, a wild look in his eye, muttering to people only he can see as he pushes a shopping cart laden with soda cans and plastic bags around city streets, passersby giving him a wide berth. But that stereotype masks a truer picture of homelessness.
On any given day the Haven is abuzz with tremendous activity. Sitting on the wall outside the front door and watching the comings and goings in the parking lot gives a strong overall sense of all that is going on.
A month or so ago, Lia invited my daughter for a sleepover at her house in Norwich. In between devouring homemade pumpkin pie Addie had made with homegrown pumpkins, camping on the trampoline outside for the night, the usual girl giggles, and making crafts, they decided to do a fundraiser for the Haven.
A couple came in to the Haven to ask for a small amount of help to move into an apartment. Both are alcoholics; and have been in recovery, and married, for over a year. They were charming in that they obviously loved each other; and were so grateful for that, their extended families and their sobriety.
The Haven’s T shirt collection is a representation of the Haven itself: a place where different lives that would not ordinarily touch have come together. When you enter the Clothing Room at the Haven and start to browse through the racks of T shirts, you begin to see the amazing representation and expressions of people’s lifestyles and ponder the special life scenarios of memorable events and personal passions.
I moved up to the area three years ago to be closer to Dartmouth Hitchcock, because its doctors were the only ones that were able to identify my brain aneurisms and treat me afterward. I had to quit my job due to my health issues, and became overloaded with medical bills; I was struggling to get by.
Poverty is a precarious and expensive situation, with little room for error, and just about everything at stake. “If Nancy hadn’t taken Irving to the hospital when she did, he would have most likely died from his ankle infection.”
Have you ever noticed the people standing near the off ramp of highway 89 in West Lebanon, or in the Walmart parking lot, asking for help through messages written on cardboard signs? In rural areas like the Upper Valley homelessness isn’t as visible as it is in cities. Here in our community the homeless sleep…
Stan and Joe — two of the Haven’s most gracious visitors — placed a box at the bus stop in front of the Haven so that folks who would otherwise throw garbage on the ground have a better option. “I couldn’t stand looking at all the trash around the bus stop and wanted to do…
Lorrie came to the Haven after bouncing from couch to couch at the homes of her children. Once she got into the Haven her Case Manager, Caroline, helped her sign up for Medicaid and apply for food stamps. Several months earlier, Lorrie had quit her job at McDonald’s because she wasn’t able see very well or stand for long periods of time.
Daniel called the Haven several weeks ago inquiring about shelter. He was in a bind. He had lost his place to live, was staying with a friend, and the situation was no longer sustainable. He spoke with Haven Community Case Manager, Tara Mullen, who helped him find local low-income apartments that were available for rent.…