Celebrating their 30-year anniversary, Angie Mayeaux, executive director of Haven House, said the nonprofit service has moved more than 150 families from emergency situations into housing and stability this year alone. Haven House is an emergency housing shelter and support center for families. Previously a sorority house, Haven House is located at 121 Whitehills in East Lansing and has seven bedrooms, allowing for 28 residents at a time. Something that Mayeaux said sets Haven House apart from other homeless shelters is their ability to accept fathers with children and teenage boys. “Most shelters split up two-parent families, but we’re flexible that way and can accommodate to all families,” she said. “We assist any family because in a crisis it doesn’t always help the situation to split up.” Mayeaux said her staff does everything they possibly can to get their residents back into stable housing. Each day they are to meet with caseworkers and provide updates of their home search. “Statistically, homeless people lose their homes within the first three months, but we control that,” she said. “50-60 percent of our families will end up moving into housing and staying for at least six months.” But Haven House doesn’t stop after the move into housing has occurred. They work with a group called Partners in Progress to continue the stability of the family. Along with working to help the parents, Haven House also cares for the children’s needs. “Homelessness affects the whole family and giving the kids a positive experience is a goal of ours,” Mayeaux said. Haven House offers a year-round tutor, has volunteers come in for games and activities, and also works with the Adopt-a-Child program to make sure each child has proper school clothing and supplies.Haven House also serves as the East Lansing food pantry, which feeds 50 households per month. Mayeaux said there has not been an opening in Haven House that has lasted more than 24 hours without being filled. “The hardest part about being a nonprofit organization is communicating the work to explain to people the great need, and help them with understanding the need to assist families into housing and get them stabilized,” she said. “Homelessness is a symptom of poverty. Katelyn Sweet is a senior at Central Michigan University studying Integrative Public Relations and Journalism.
Katelyn Sweet is a senior at Central Michigan University studying Integrative Public Relations and Journalism.