“Good spot. Glad I’m here.” ~William
“The Haven is keeping me out of trouble. I have a safe roof over my head; good people and positive environment. I have a job now.” ~Mike
“The Haven gave me an opportunity to better myself. I had nowhere to go, and so I didn’t care about myself. Now I have a job, and things get better every day. To all the people who make The Haven possible, thank you!” ~Floyd
The Haven is a good place. No complaints. Good managers.” ~Mitchell
During 2005 there was serious discussion about the need for a winter shelter for York County homeless men. Everyone agreed that something was needed, but nothing had been done to provide shelter. Late that year a group of seven agencies in Rock Hill and York County decided that it was time to seriously address the problem of homelessness. The agencies involved were:
American Red Cross
York Baptist Association
This group devised a plan and began a search for a shelter facility. A temporary location, on Archive Street, was donated by a local contractor and the plan was put into action. The community responded with moral and financial help and on January 17th, 2006 a facility initially named Winterhaven was opened. The initial goal was to get as many men off the streets as possible during the winter months.
Volunteers responded to check the men in each evening and provide nightly meals. As temperatures dropped and word spread of the new facility, the number of individuals entering the shelter increased greatly. Between January and March 2006 Winterhaven provided over 50 men a warm and safe place to sleep and a meal to eat. With only 12 beds available up to 200 requests for shelter per month were denied due to space limitations.
In spite of many obstacles, Winterhaven took on the task of providing housing, social, spiritual and employment counseling to residents who expressed a desire to improve the conditions of their lives. In the spring of that year, the founding coalition felt their original plan for a winter shelter for men had been a success. Rather than close until next winter, TLC Ministries and a small group of volunteers determined there was an ongoing need to keep the shelter open year round as a half-way house for men who were changing their lives and needed a safe environment to foster this change.
Late in 2006 the Board determined that the shelter’s growth needs would be best met if it became a tax exempt agency. The State of South Carolina approved the 501(c)3 application and the name of the agency was changed to the Haven Men’s Shelter. To operate the shelter, a day manager and a weekend manager were hired, with the Board managing the operational decisions.
Currently The Haven accepts men for emergency shelter if there is room and they are willing to abide by The Haven rules. Good results have been experienced with men at the shelter. One third of the residents find employment and 25% have entered a substance abuse or vocational rehabilitation program.
In 2008, as The Haven grew, a part-time Executive Director was hired to take on the financial, management and public relations responsibilities. As the same time the board reorganized to strengthen fundraising, long range planning and management support.
Many exciting changes occurred in 2009, including being given an office space at Bannon Hall by Saint Mary Catholic Church and the hiring of a full-time Executive Director with a Master of Social Work Degree. These two organization successes have allowed the expansion of services. The Haven is now able to offer our residents additional services as well as giving us a more visible place in the community in which we serve.
Since then The Haven has developed numerous partnerships and tapped into resources that have increased our success in assisting our residents. Our objective for the future is to continue manageable growth as a service organization and continue making a sizable and positive effect conquering homelessness in our area.