HAVEN HOUSE: Helping Lansing Area Families Help Themselves

I’ve recently been getting to know those involved at Haven House who help keep this amazing place going for our community.  I’ve loved participating at board meetings and learning about the difference they are making, as well as finding ways I can give back through them.  I took some time to meet with Gabriel and Chequoya to learn more about Haven House and grab some photos also.  I’m so excited to feature them on my blog!


Keep reading to learn more about Haven House!


Rebecca: What is the origin of Haven House?

Haven House: In the 1980’s group of community members recognized a need to help homeless families.  They partnered up and were able to get use of a church on campus to use as a house.


Rebecca: How has Haven House evolved over the years?

Haven House: After some time had passed, Haven House moved to an old fraternity house with seven bedrooms.  It is able to house 5-9 families, maxing out at 30 people.  In 2012, we added a full-time volunteer coordinator to help with all the interest in helping Haven House.  Over time, the jungle gym and playground have been replaced and the “homey” aspect has been improved for the families.  The staff continues to grow to meet all the needs within Haven House.



Rebecca: What sets Haven House apart from other shelters?

Haven House: Our focus is on families and keeping them together.  We have intensive case management and each family meets with staff for 30 minutes daily.  They are required to look into new housing daily and find out how to apply.  We have a very strong focus on helping them understand and reach financial security.


Rebecca: What are the requirements to stay at Haven House?

Haven House:  1) They need to have at least one child. 2) There must be no history of domestic violence, be drug free, and alcohol free.  3) They must do a household daily chore within Haven House.  4) They are required to meet with staff for 30 minutes daily and seek new housing daily.  5) They must return to Haven House for the evening no later than 8pm.  6) They must attend weekly house meetings to discuss what is going on in Haven House and resolve any issues.



Rebecca: How long can people stay?

Haven House: Once their budget is figured out and they have their expenses under control, the goal is to have each family out on their own within 30 days of moving into Haven House.


Rebecca: How does Haven House help their residents transition to a new home?

Haven House: We have a program called Partners in Progress.  It is for families who have recently transitioned into their new homes. The transitional housing coordinator meets with them at least once a month making sure they are staying on top of their budget, providing info about any resources in the area, liaison between the client and landlord etc. The unique aspect of the program is she is also able to bring cleaning supplies & hygiene items donated to the shelter to help cut the cost on their pockets.



Rebecca: What are the various roles employees play at Haven House?

Haven House: Shelter Coordinators meet with families and do case management which involves going over budget, housing, and daily check-in’s. Volunteer Coordinator trains people to help with whatever they choose: helping with dinner, playing with kids, maintenance, cleaning, organizing, adopt-a-child project, adopt-a-family, as well as court ordered community service volunteers.  Shelter Manager oversees operations of the shelter and makes sure policies and procedures are followed.  They also handle client info reports and make sure things run smoothly.  The Executive Director is responsible for everything within the organization such as grant writing, partnerships, media, and speaking engagements with groups.  The Development Director raises funds and handles all communications from email, social media, mailings and website.


Rebecca: How can the public help?

Haven House: There are a few different ways.  1) They can help get the word out about what Haven House does.  2) Volunteer to answer phones on the weekends, cook dinner, play with kids (especially in the summer).  3) They can donate financially to help keep the shelter running or 4) donate cleaning supplies, hygiene supplies, and other needs.* 5) Invite Haven House to speak to a group and educate on the issues of homelessness, poverty and how they can make a difference.  6) Shop using Kroger Community Rewards and Amazon Smile.  7) Attend partnered events with groups and individuals.

*Please call in advance for donation drop-off.  Items not accepted are computers, used books, used toys, personal-sized hygiene items, or prescription medications.



Rebecca: Where is Haven House located?

Haven House: 121 Whitehills Drive East Lansing, MI 48823.  Right next to the East Lansing Post Office on Abbott Rd.


Rebecca: Can the public get a tour?

Haven House: Absolutely!  Just give us a call in advance.