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A Word from Our Executive Director

December 7, 2017 

The holiday season is a time when families reflect on all that they are thankful for. During this time of year, we gather together to celebrate with our friends and families, enjoying all the holiday season offers. Fellowship, good food, fun, and a warm hearth. During this time, it is easy to forget all those who are less fortunate, the hungry, those in crisis, and the homeless. We forget while in the grip of the hustle and bustle this time of year brings to our normally ordered lives. There are travel arrangements to make, presents to buy, and food to prepare. It is easy to become overwhelmed, managing the seemingly never ending issues of planning these festive get togethers. We find we have little time, other than in passing, to think about our less fortunate neighbors. But in our community, there are those families and individuals who would welcome the “stress” the holiday season brings to many of us, for they are dealing with far more serious issues than our own.

Within Spartanburg County, there are those who must worry about keeping a roof over their head, they have no time to think of travel or welcoming family members to their homes. For some, having a home Is the luxury. Rather than planning a menu for a festive gathering, they worry about where their next meal will come from. Within our community there are families with children who will wake up to no presents, no tree, nor even from the warm security of a bed to call their own. For many living on the streets, the most they can be thankful for is that they survived the night, to face the struggle of another day of displacement.

Since taking on this mission, I have been exposed to the best Spartanburg as a community offers. I have seen the generosity of faith, civic, and the business communities, and the dedication of those whose have chosen as their professional life’s mission, to help others less fortunate than themselves. I have witnessed the power of a community that comes together to address a problem, no matter how daunting in its complexity. And I have seen firsthand the resilience of those, who by all rights should have no hope, yet express hope, as against all odds they try to bring normalcy to a lifestyle that many of us would be unprepared to deal with.

So, let us give thanks for all we have, and reflect on the realities of those less fortunate. Let the compassion for our fellow man that we normally feel during the holiday season, continue as the calendar turns to 2018. Let us keep in our hearts and minds those less fortunate, and commit to offering those in need our support and assistance. Let us resolve that in Spartanburg, we will do all in our power to see that no family ever need worry for lack of safe secure housing. That in our great community, no child will go hungry or know the harsh realities of homelessness. And let us commit to the mission that next year, we can be thankful in the knowledge that we did everything we could to make the holidays of 2018 a joyous time for everyone.

From the Board of Trustees and staff of the Haven Community Solutions, we bid everyone, peace, prosperity, and joy.

 

With Warm Regards,

Mark George Bound, PhD

Executive Director

The Haven Inc.

November 13, 2017 

Change can be a good thing. At The Haven Inc. we endeavor every day, to help those families who come to us for help. We create innovative strategies for these families so that they can change their lives, and realize a more positive, stable, and sustainable living condition. But we understand through experience that not all families nor even the individuals within a family are the same. Individuals, even within a family, have different needs and issues which, if we are to be successful, must be recognized and addressed. When you are in the business of helping people, one size does not fit all.

Much of the change occurring within The Haven’s organization is built around this fundamental understanding. One program cannot address the crisis of all homelessness. Sheltering as a stand alone program, without supportive intensive case management cannot provide the necessary tools to realize the overall goal of stable sustainability. Likewise, programs that address homelessness after the fact, require more resources than programs that address and assist “at risk” families and individuals, who have yet to experience homelessness. Finally, programs that focus only on homelessness, and not the social issues which led to a family or individual becoming homeless, cannot provide the foundation for stability.

The Haven is changing, and for the homeless population of our area, this is a good thing. Yet, as I have said in the past, no one agency can address the homelessness crisis alone. We need partners. Partners who are committed to doing the work that is necessary to make a real difference. Partners willing to commit time, resources, and expertise. We need the support of other human services agencies, local government, business, and academia. Each has an important role to play in combating homelessness. Together we can make a difference, but we must be committed, and flexible in our ideas. The willingness to be innovative is our greatest strength. We must expand our thinking, understanding that homelessness is not the disease, but rather a resulting symptom of a greater combination of social issues, social issues that must be addresses if we are to be successful in our mission.

The true measure of a society is not based upon financial wealth, education levels, nor infrastructure, rather the true measure of a society is realized in how we as a community take care of the most vulnerable among us. It is easy to talk about something, and dialog is important. But doing is what solves problems. Spartanburg is a growing community with improvements to our way of life almost everywhere you look. The downtown is revitalized, with culture, business, and amenities. But for Spartanburg to truly realize its potential, we can leave no member of our community behind, we must lift up those less fortunate so that every member of our community can realize their potential. I ask you to join us in this mission, to help rebuild lives, and in doing so, strengthen our community as a whole.

 

With Warm Regards,

Mark George Bound, PhD

Executive Director

The Haven Inc.

October 6, 2017 

The Haven Inc. has been in continuous operation, helping homeless individuals and families for over 34 years. Through those years The Haven has seen its share of program transitions. In 1983 we sheltered transient men and in 1986 The Haven focused on single women and families. Finally, in 2012 The Haven shifted our program once again to families alone.

We have always operated under the philosophy that keeping families together is the fundamental component to creating strong families that create sustainable stability. Despite all the efforts of The Haven and other dedicated community agencies, the crisis of homelessness is still prevalent in Spartanburg County.

Over our 34-year existence funding has also undergone significant shifts since 1983. Different ideologies and programs have gone in and out of fashion, as federal and state funding agencies continue to search for a successful formula to address the homelessness crisis. Today, HUD has embraced the Rapid Rehousing and Housing First models, and are currently focusing on veterans and unaccompanied youth.

As a result, sheltering services have seen steep funding decreases.This trend is not new as decreased shelter funding has been ongoing for over a decade. Today, the funding for sheltering the homeless is less a federal and state government endeavor, becoming more reliant on corporate, faith based, and individual philanthropy.

The Board of Trustees, administration, and staff of The Haven remain committed to continuing to provide essential services to the homeless population of our community, especially families. However, we also realize that organizations need to evolve. We must meet the present needs of the people we serve, while aligning with current funding ideologies and opportunities. Without this transition we can neither serve nor survive.

Over the next few months The Haven will be introducing new program offerings designed to meet the needs of the homeless population and do so in the most cost-effective manner. We will be introducing homeless community outreach programs, like the one currently being offered at the Spartanburg Library Headquarters. We will be offering homelessness prevention programs, focused on addressing poverty and living stability in those high at-risk families who present on the verge of homelessness. And we will be redesigning our sheltering model, to more effectively serve homeless families.

The Haven Inc has always had a major impact in Spartanburg. We are committed to continue that work, while expanding our footprint on the overall homelessness issues faced by our community. I will keep you updated as our evolution progresses, as we bring more community driven solutions to Spartanburg.

 

Best regards,

Mark George Bound, PhD

Executive Director

The Haven Inc.

September 7, 2017 

Homelessness is a real crisis being experienced right here in our community. In a recent article in the Spartanburg Herald Journal, South Carolina was identified as having the 5th highest number of homeless individuals per capita in our nation. During the 2016 Homes Point in Contact count, conducted by HUD, Spartanburg County counted over 500 homeless individuals with our county borders. It is important for us to remember these are only those individuals willing to be identified.

Regardless of these numbers and the extent of the crisis, federal funding options for shelter services have consistently decreased over the last decade. This unfortunate trend shows no indication of changing. Funding for sheltering services is becoming a philanthropic endeavor. The Haven Shelter for Families is not immune to these funding cuts. Federal grant money previously relied upon over the years has seen a steady decrease. It is not inconceivable that within 5 years, all federal sheltering money will cease to exist.

The Haven is committed to continue expanding our outreach and homelessness prevention missions as we align our focus with the current policy and funding options available to combat this community crisis.

To meet the needs of the homeless population in our community, The Haven continues to expand our services beyond our walls. The community outreach program currently being conducted at the Spartanburg County Public Library Headquarters is showing great promise as we extend case management services to a previously underserved population. Extending the offering of services referral may not immediately end a person’s homelessness, but it does offer the potential of hope to those who have been forgotten.

-Dr. Mark George Bound, PhD
Executive Director

August 4, 2017

In 2017 The Haven Board of Trustees embraced a long term vision for expansion of services that are designed to address the homelessness crisis in our community. These programs, in cooperation with the Spartanburg Library Headquarters will offer the transient homeless population access to services that will offer the opportunity of mitigating the external issues which have contributed to their homeless condition.

This collaboration with the SCL will also present a series of programs, twice a month, that will bring information and referral services to families and individuals who are currently at risk of experiencing homelessness in the near future. The Haven is committed to designing and implementing proactive programs, with partner agencies in our area, that will end homelessness before it begins.

The Haven will continue its mission of offering shelter to families experiencing homelessness. At the start of this year, The Haven was allowed to extend its program length of stay from the previous 90 day limit, to its current length of stay estimate of 1 year. Extending the length of time a family can participate in our core case management services better prepares families to gain the skills necessary to achieve sustainable stable living skills. The result being better outcomes and less recidivism.

The staff of the Haven has embraced our new mission statement, “Our mission is to provide shelter and supportive services to homeless families through programs that promote sustainable living stability. The Haven advocates, creates opportunities, and engages, in collaborative locally driven solutions to end homelessness for families and individuals.” and are fully dedicated to “Creating and engaging solutions to end homelessness.”

2017 should be an exciting year of growth and development at The Haven!

-Dr. Mark George Bound, PH.D.
Executive Director of The Haven