The Greater Boston area is home to many exceptional nonprofits, but the ones that serve moms are especially close to our hearts. Boston Moms is excited to spotlight and support the local nonprofit organizations that make our area so great.
This month we are showcasing the Haven Project!
The Haven Project is an advocate and provider of unique and age-appropriate services to homeless young adults on the North Shore. Programs are expanding to meet the growing and complex needs of the homeless young adult population.
We spoke with Tacey Scherrer, executive director of the Haven Project, who shared how they are working hard to change the lives of young people in the Greater Boston area.
Where are you located? We are located at 57 Munroe Street in Lynn, which is centrally located for accessibility to the youth in our area.
What is your mission? Our mission is “to equip and empower homeless or imminently homeless young adults with the skills and support they need to be safe and self-supporting.” Our organization is dedicated specifically to providing age-appropriate services to a growing, vulnerable population of homeless young adults ages 17-24. We implement our mission through six essential focus areas: basic needs, employment, housing, education, health, and community engagement.
How do young adults generally become homeless? There are so many factors that can lead to youth homelessness, but our top three reasons are 1) parent/caregiver kicked them out, 2) financial instability, and 3) abusive/neglectful home environment.
A lot of the time people believe, even if it is subconsciously, that an agency like ours would work with a lot of youth who are addicted to substances or are defiant in some way. Truthfully, most of our clients come from difficult and traumatic home situations and are really the definition of resilience. One thing we have seen this year specifically is families being unable to keep their teens/young adults with them after being evicted from their homes. The eviction moratorium being lifted trickled down to the youth we work with.
As moms, the thought of homeless youth hurts our hearts. How can we help? Collecting/donating basic need items, food, coats, hats, and mittens is always incredibly helpful. Also, we are always in need of groups to put up flyers across our catchment area. With it being winter, we understand that many don’t want to walk in the cold to do this, but it’s really the most effective tool we have in reaching the population we are trying to reach. Our flyers have QR codes on them that the youth can scan — it takes them to our website and explains our services and has our contact info. We always need help getting out the word!
Tell us about the Land of a Thousand Hills Cafe. Our cafe opened in 2016 and is a social enterprise. The Haven Project partnered with Land of a Thousand Hills Coffee Company to create a specialty coffee shop that contributes to the restoration of Rwanda and reinvests profit to the underserved homeless youth on the North Shore. We are currently open from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. You can learn more by visiting our website! Another way to support our programming is to rent out the cafe for special events. Contact Fredy Hincapie, our social enterprise manager, at email@example.com.
How does the cafe support your mission? All proceeds from the cafe fund theHavenProject‘s services, and we are able to have our clients work in a short-term training program as well. While they’re in the training program, they work on skills needed in the workforce (time management, response to authority figures, other basic skills), and they also have allotted time with our job training coach to work on their resumes, cover letters, mock interviews, and job applications. It’s been quite successful. If you’re in the area, one awesome way to support us is to make sure you stop by and visit!
We heard you’re working on funding for a new project — Catalyst Housing. Tell us about it. We are hoping to build on the top two floors of our building. If funded, we will be able to build 24 studio apartments and offer permanent, supportive housing to young adults ages 18-24 in our area. The program will be staffed by an on-site case manager, a part-time property manager, and a live-in resident manager. Programming will dovetail with the existing supportive services offered by the Haven Project. We are really excited about this — and we will find out this spring if we can move ahead with construction later this year. Keep your fingers crossed for us!
What do donations to the Haven Project do? In 2021, 64% of proceeds went directly to client services and programs like our job training program, plus a temporary youth shelter that we ran last winter; 16% of our funding went toward our cafe.
Where can we donate? Great question! Our website is the easiest place: DONATE HERE!
You can find more about Boston Area nonprofits HERE!
Are you interested in being highlighted in a Boston-Area nonprofit spotlight, or do you know an organization that deserves this recognition? Let us know! Please email Chelsey Weaver at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss a feature.