Ting Works at The Haven in Charlottesville
Christine Ottoni • November 14, 2017if( has_post_thumbnail( $post_id ) ): ?>
Showcasing our community initiatives and involvement across our Ting Towns.
The history of The Haven
The Haven is a day shelter and housing social service provider located in downtown Charlottesville, Virginia. This multi-resource center offers respite services and housing assistance and is committed to the ethos that the solution to homelessness is housing.
The Haven started as the coming together of several different community groups including a group of concerned community members, the Thomas Jefferson Area Coalition for the Homeless and Tom Shadyac, a University of Virginia alumnus and filmmaker.
Tom and his crew were in Charlottesville in 2005 shooting a film and got to know many of the people experiencing homelessness in the area. Moved by their needs, he connected with project managers, community leaders and the TJACH to come up with a concept for a downtown shelter. In 2010, The Haven opened its doors as a community day shelter.
The solution to homelessness is housing
The Haven operated for four years as a basic respite care shelter. That meant being open during the day as a drop in place where guests could come, hang out, use the laundry facilities and showers, receive mail, store belongings, access the Internet, connect with outreach and healthcare services and have a healthy breakfast every day of the year.
In 2014, The Haven took on federal funding to expand their services and administer housing services. Today, their robust housing team consists of program administrators and case managers. The Haven runs several housing programs like Homeless Prevention, Rapid Re-Housing, Support Services for Veteran Families and Housing2Home.
All of these programs operate in addition to the Day Shelter and the daily breakfast program.
Friends of Ting
The Haven joined the Friends of Ting program in 2017. It was good timing, too, because The Haven was in the process of switching over their phone system to operating entirely on an Internet connection.
“It was powerful to have a local business reach out to us and support the work we are doing by providing Internet for us. It’s a tremendous gift,” says Owen Brennan, The Haven’s Operations Director.
Today all the phones at The Haven operate on a Ting gigabit fiber connection. That means when housing case managers and day shelter staff members answer the phone or send an email, those communications are powered by Ting.
Reliability is a huge factor for The Haven. The availability of a case worker can mean a housing placement for one of The Haven’s guests.
“Ting has been really great to work with and the helpline is incredible.”
Guests have access to reliable phones and can even provide family and friends with a phone number to reach them at.
“For half of our guests, our phones are the only phone contact they have. And certainly guests make use of our computers.”
One especially important benefit of access, is the social connection the Internet helps people make when they are in a particularly vulnerable positions.
“The other half of our guests, who do have phones, a lot of them do have smart phones. Access to Facebook helps people connect with family and friends and really helps them tap into the social networks, that for a lot of folks, end up being how they get out of homelessness, by reconnecting with family or finding a friend to stay with.”
Community in Charlottesville
For many, homelessness is temporary and sudden. For others, it can last years. The Haven is there to help along the way and offer housing support to all, beginning with the most vulnerable.
“We want people to feel welcome and feel like they’re coming into a home-type situation. If the staff members and volunteers on duty don’t have to worry about the phone line or Internet connection then that frees them up to have conversations with guests and to welcome guests that are coming in.”