Against all odds, guests and visitors keep rising to the challenge
People in need of help are the Haven’s reason for being. They animate our mission, give us purpose and hope.
Take Em, who has been suffering from heroin addiction for a long time. Over the past 25 years, she’s gotten clean many times, but then relapses. “She’s almost ceased to believe in her ability to change,” says Nancy Griffin, Community Service Coordinator. After years of waiting, Em just got a voucher that provides her with a chance to have an apartment of her own. She’ll be off the street with a roof over her head. Suddenly, she sees possibilities opening, like recovery and being reconciled with her family. “I call it the ‘Haven Miracle,’” Nancy says.
Then there was Billy, a young man who showed up a few summers ago, sunburnt with wild hair; his pants held up with a rope. “He was having auditory hallucinations and couldn’t talk very well. I brought him into my office where I have a map. ‘Where are you from?’ I asked. He pointed to West Virginia. ‘Do you have family?’ I asked? He pointed to Cape Cod. That was enough for me to start digging.” After a series of phone calls, Nancy was finally able to locate Billy’s mother. “She had been frantic—she had been looking for him for three months.”
These are the stories—and the people—that get Nancy up every day, coming into the Haven and working with guests in the community to overcome barriers. It could be finding a laptop for a guest to write a resume and submit job applications. It might be lining up a couple of courses so that another guest can finish a licensed practical nurse program and get on the road to stable income. Or it might mean helping an elderly guest resolve an issue with Social Security.
“The system can be pretty challenging,” adds fellow Community Service Coordinator Gwen Williams. “We’re here to try to make sure guests and visitors stay connected and get fair treatment. We’re out there fighting for them, walking right alongside them.”
“Relationships create the atmosphere for change,” shares Nancy. “If you can create really good communication, you can change perspectives. I look at it as a privilege,” she concludes. “These people are my heroes. They are so resilient and so courageous. They continue to try against all the odds.”