The Haven

  img_3113The Haven shelters, though sharing a name, do not have the same programs from site to site. However, all sites have the same goal, to help clients regain their dignity. This may be done through family reunification, substance use programs, earning a paycheck, or finding independent housing.  My first exposure to this was in the Haven on Napier Street. Each client in the shelter was getting ready for the Christmas Dinner, especially the women. A previous client, who is now a hair dresser, returned to do all of the women’s hair! Everyone was also putting on their best clothes, and we helped a little with ironing a few of those nice shirts. It was clear that every effort was made to make this Christmas dinner fun, and exciting for the clients. img_3202This was an excellent reminder of how important it is for us to remember that every human deserves to feel dignified. I feel as though we are conditioned by society to ignore the homeless, the beggars on the streets, and by ignoring them it becomes easier to forget their humanity. So often we are convinced to forget one’s humanity in order to allow them to be on the receiving end of various offences. When this happens, it is easy to start believing that they deserve what they get. This is how the public allows policies to be made that blatantly hurt vulnerable populations. An example in Colorado is the camping ban, which essentially criminalizes homelessness. This type of attack is less acceptable when “they” become individuals, it is harder to accept that an individual doesn’t need assistance, or compassion. I learned a lot about dignity in shadowing the Haven social workers. Each person we spoke to within the shelter spoke very highly of the help they’ve received, and the second chance offered to them. Many shelters even had clients who had left, and returned as volunteers to give back due to the experience they had at the Haven. img_3205


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