Over 25 years ago, community volunteer, Mary Ellen McGuire saw that there was an increasing number of homeless pregnant women and women with young children. After years of hard work and advocacy, she and a group of supporters opened Life Haven with funding from the state of Connecticut. Since then, Life Haven has sheltered over 2,000 women and children. We remain committed to helping women achieve their goals of a safe and affordable place to call home.
The integration of Life Haven and New Reach, formerly New Haven Home Recovery, was an opportunity to continue to provide the vital services of Life Haven. Further, it provides the potential to do even more to assist those facing homelessness, and to break the cycle of poverty. Integration of administrative functions such as human resources, technology, finance, marketing and program management has created economies of scale that allows for better utilization of the existing resources.
Life Haven is a non-profit organization that offers temporary shelter and a safe and nurturing environment for homeless pregnant women and women with young children. The shelter is committed to assisting children and their families to develop skills that will enable them to live independently and achieve success. We remain deeply committed to ending homelessness one family at a time. It is our goal to work with families to secure permanent housing and the necessary community supports so that families succeed in the long term. This work starts at the shelter with an assessment of the needs and best solution for each family. The staff are professional, compassionate and display a high commitment to providing quality services. Throughout the year, our units are filled to capacity with homeless women and children.
Life Haven provides a home like atmosphere to women and children experiencing homelessness. The facility has twenty units available for female-headed homeless families. Life Haven staff work collaboratively with the families it serves to help break the cycle of homelessness by providing comprehensive services and assisting women attain self-sufficiency and independence by addressing the crisis and locating safe and stable permanent housing.
For more than 25 years, Life Haven has served as a safe haven for homeless women and children. The families who seek shelter at Life Haven are experiencing a crisis. We believe every woman and child deserves a safe place and supportive environment. We are compassionate and respectful, yet professional and disciplined in our approach. The number of families experiencing homelessness has been steadily rising over the past few years. In addition, the length of time a family stays in the shelter system is increasing due to the lack of affordable housing available.
Not only is affordable housing a need in this community, but safe and affordable child care is an issue for families. Life Haven provides an on-site children’s program, SEARCH (Services, Education, Activities Reaching Children who are Homeless) which provides enrichment services and linkages to community child care and pre-school.
Life Haven is an extremely important asset to the Greater New Haven community. To provide a safe place for women and children who are experiencing homelessness is providing a basic need to our most vulnerable citizens. Life Haven is focused on a three goals for 2015: Building improvements; working with the community to create a new access system into shelter; and rapidly exiting families into stable housing.
Currently Life Haven is working in partnership with both public and private funders to address the many capital improvement needs of the building. We take pride in providing a clean, welcoming and homelike environment for our residents. In early 2015, we will begin a major renovation of the Life Haven kitchen. The new kitchen will allow the families more access to the kitchen and more choices in providing food for their families.
Life Haven is working in collaboration with other shelters and homeless services providers throughout greater New Haven to create a Coordinated Access Network. This network will allow for more comprehensive entry into shelter and the possibility of diverting from shelter completely.
Life Haven is committed to working with the system on care and the Rapid Re-Housing programs to exit families into shelter as quickly as possible. With a strong assessment tool, trained staff and enough resources families should be able to exit the shelter within 45 days of intake.
Life Haven (LH) provides temporary shelter to homeless pregnant women and women with young children. Each family situation is assessed by a case manager who develops an individual care plan outlining the goals needing to be accomplished to secure permanent housing. The care plan is periodically re-evaluated to ensure necessary adjustments to the plan are made according to needs of the family.
LH utilizes PROVIDE software and participates in local and statewide HMIS (Homeless Management Information System) data collection efforts.
Residents receive breakfast, lunch, and dinner each day. The menus are planned monthly to include a wide variety of healthy foods. Staff also plans seasonal menus and special dinners.
Program Success is monitored by PROVIDE and the Regional Alliance to End Homelessness help Life Haven to monitor its progress. As a part of the Site Technical Committee of HMIS, Life Haven and others in the region focus on the expectations of the HEARTH Act to outline its programmatic goals and objectives.
Gia was living with her grandparents in New York with her two children, when she decided she needed to make a change. While she liked having her grandparents as a support system, the house was not big enough for her and her two children to live in. Gia decided to move to Connecticut with her mother.
Gia’s children had a smooth transition after moving. Gia’s nine-year old son Ben was happy at school and performing well. However, not long after family relations became tense between Gia and her mother and Gia was forced to move out on her own. Gia’s mother was happy to take care of Ben, but she needed to find a place for her and her one-year old daughter. With nowhere else to turn to, Gia found help at Life Haven.
Life Haven provided Gia and her daughter a safe place to stay. Life Haven staff provided Gia the support system she needed to become self-sufficient. Staff began by completing an assessment of programs that Gia and her family would qualify for. Through the assessment, Gia enrolled in HUSKY and Women, Infants and Children Program for supplemental food.
Now Gia was set with healthcare and food. Gia wanted to focus on her daughter’s needs and Life Haven staff referred Gia to New Haven Home Recovery’s Healthy Start Program. In the program, Gia was able to find affordable child care for her daughter.
Gia’s income was limited and she was struggling to save money for housing. Staff connected Gia to New Haven Home Recovery’s Housing First for Families program (HFF). The program helped Gia through the process of finding a safe and affordable home for her family. When she found the right apartment, HFF helped Gia with a security deposit and first month’s rent. Gia got the boost she needed to become independent.
SEARCH provides the children with a variety of experiences. SEARCH encourages experiential learning and provides the children many opportunities both on and off-site. These activities are all part of our exceptional program: homework club, arts & crafts, play time, field trips, story time, sensory time, music, and more.
When Camille, 1 year old, started coming to the program
she was only able to crawl and scoot along the floor. After a week of utilizing the program,
Camille was able to stand and felt more stable on her legs. Within two weeks, Camille was walking and
pivoting by herself.
Gabriel, 8 years old, started coming to the enrichment program and had a very short attention span. He could not focus on one activity for too long. The teacher in the program worked with Gabriel on his homework and focusing on one activity at a time. Within two months of coming to the program, Gabriel’s mom noticed a large increase in his attention span. He is now able to complete his homework on time by himself!
Life Haven has three challenges for the next year, 2015. Raising funding to complete the capital improvements on the building is the first challenge. Without raising this funding, the shelter will continue to struggle to meet the needs of the hundreds of residents coming through the door each year. The second challenge will be to implement a citywide Coordinated Access Network for entry into shelter. Life Haven and New Reach staff have taken on leadership roles during the 2014 year in the creation of the Greater New Haven Coordinated Access Network. Our challenge for 2015 will be implementing the system and then evaluating it for possible changes. The final challenge will be to identify enough resources to find housing for our families as rapidly as possible.
Kellyann Day is the CEO of New Reach, Inc., formerly New Haven Home Recovery, Inc. since 1997. New Reach is the parent company of Life Haven, Inc. as of August 2012. In her role, Kellyann is responsible for the strategic direction and health of the agency, including ensuring fidelity to the mission, vision and values of the agency. Ensuring responsible stewardship over public and private supports, Kellyann is responsible for the oversight and management of legal, regulatory and programmatic compliance, management and administration of agency assets and operations, including safety and security and risk assessment. In addition, she is responsible for fund development, raising awareness regarding the need for shelter, housing and stabilization services and reporting on the positive results the agency achieves. Kellyann also serves as a partner with the Board of Directors, ensuring the health and effectiveness of New Reach, Inc., by ensuring the agency achieves its mission in an ethical, transparent, accountable and prudent manner. Kellyann serves as the leader and agency spokesperson for New Reach, Inc.
Kellyann attended the State University of New York at Plattsburgh and received a B.S. in psychology. She completed her Masters of Social Work (MSW) with a concentration in administration in 2002 from UCONN.
In addition to her professional duties, Kellyann has served as Chair to the Board of Directors of the South Central Behavioral Health Network, and the CT AIDS Residence Coalition. She has also served as the Chairperson of the Statewide Reaching Home Steering Committee and numerous boards throughout the state including: the New Haven Early Childhood Council, the CT Coalition to End Homelessness, New Haven Mayor’s Task Force on AIDS, City of New Haven’s 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness, Supportive Housing Works, United Way of South Central Connecticut, and the Greater New Haven Opening Doors, Regional Alliance to End Homelessness. In addition she has presented New Reach’s programs at State and National Homelessness Conferences. In late 2014 Kellyann was appointed to the board of the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven by the Probate Judge of New Haven.
Life Haven collaborates with many organizations throughout the city including the Cornell Scott Hill Health Center’s Healthcare for the Homeless program and the CFGNH Healthy Start Program. In addition, Life Haven is an active participant and leader in the greater New Haven Opening Doors Alliance and Coordinated Access Network. These two groups include many organizations throughout greater New Haven.
Life Haven is managed by a shelter manager, who works in partnership with the CareWays and Martha’s Place shelter manager. These managers collectively have years of experience working with families in crisis and shelter services. A shelter director provides the oversight, leadership and mentorship to these managers. In addition, the managers work collaboratively with a facilities manager, who is responsible for the building and it’s systems.
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
Life Haven fundraises throughout the year to fill the gap in funding (projected expenses versus projected income). Life Haven fundraises through its affiliate organization New Reach. In addition, the Life Haven Fund Development Committee identifies funding sources for the agency. Life Haven's largest fundraiser takes place every summer, called Summer on the Sound. The agency has also partnered with Hunger Relief and Development over the past three years to support programming.
This profile, including the financial summaries prepared and submitted by the organization based on its own independent and/or internal audit processes and regulatory submissions, has been read by the Foundation. Financial information is inputted by Foundation staff directly from the organization’s IRS Form 990, audited financial statements or other financial documents approved by the nonprofit’s board. The Foundation has not audited the organization’s financial statements or tax filings, and makes no representations or warranties thereon. The Community Foundation is continuing to receive information submitted by the organization and may periodically update the organization’s profile to reflect the most current financial and other information available. The organization has completed the fields required by The Community Foundation and updated their profile in the last year. To see if the organization has received a competitive grant from The Community Foundation in the last five years, please go to the General Information Tab of the profile.
A strong community not only meets its members’ basic needs but also works to create long-term solutions to their problems. Provide people with affordable housing, enough to eat and access to affordable health care and you enable them to envision a better future for themselves.
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