St. Columba's Episcopal Church

The Haven

Recruiting volunteers during the Parish Festival to help at The Haven.
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The Haven, then known as Winter Haven, began in 1993 as a winter-only shelter for homeless women on the premises of St. Columba’s. It was expanded into a full-year, transitional housing program at Fletcher House, the church’s former rectory, at the beginning of 1999. The program accommodates five women at any given time, providing them with counseling on how to get their lives back together and medical and psychiatric services as well as room and board at Fletcher House. A resident is allowed to stay for up to a year. The degree of hands-on case management provided to each resident makes The Haven an unusual high-end program and an expensive one.

St. Columba’s has partnered with the Community Council for the Homeless at Friendship Place (Friendship Place) to run The Haven since the beginning of 2000. (St. Columba’s worked with Samaritan Ministry in the Winter Haven years and during the program’s first year as a year-round program.) Friendship Place provides staff for counseling, medical, and psychiatric services. Friendship Place staff also screen and accept program applicants and undertake to accept new residents when women leave the program. Homeless women learn of the Haven through the network of homeless-oriented organizations in Washington.

Since the partnership with Friendship Place began in 2000, The Haven has provided refuge to 108 women. The program served 13 women in Friendship Place’s fiscal year from Oct. 1, 2009 to Sept. 30, 2009. Those 13 women averaged 51 years of age and had been homeless for an average of two-and-a-half years when they came to The Haven. Of the eight who had left the program at the end of September 2009, six had found housing. Four had struggled with substance abuse and were clean and sober. Download a brochure (PDF) for more about The Haven.

St. Columba’s contributes to The Haven both in kind and in cash. The church makes Fletcher House available for the program and pays for maintenance and utilities, while also providing Friendship Place with part of the funding needed to run the program.  A mission group of St. Columba’s parishioners meets monthly with the Friendship Place staff to review the progress of each resident and to discuss administrative and financial issues related to maintaining Fletcher House and the St. Columba’s/Friendship Place partnership.

St. Columba’s is grateful for the generous support of the Fannie Mae Help the Homeless program for enabling this work.

Click the following links for more information:

Fannie Mae Help the Homeless program
Community Council for the Homeless at Friendship Place
Samaritan Ministry
The Haven (PDF)

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Photo: Wayne C. Fowler

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