Haven of Hope closes its doors
by Jennifer Cohron
Feb 05, 2013 | 3983 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Haven of Hope,a transitional housing facility for the homeless, closed its door Friday, according to board members. – file photo.
Haven of Hope,a transitional housing facility for the homeless, closed its door Friday, according to board members. – file photo.
Representatives of the Walker County Coalition for the Homeless announced Monday that Haven of Hope, the group’s transitional housing facility, is now closed.

The homeless shelter opened in May 2012 in a former assisted living facility at 500 Blackwell Dairy Road.

“Our lease was officially up at the end of July. However, we continued on a month-to-month basis through January in an attempt to negotiate a new lease with Country Manor. We were unable to reach an agreement that satisfied both the landlord and the Coalition,” board vice-chairman Lawson Murphy said in a prepared statement.

Board member Lona Courington confirmed that WCCH signed a one-year lease on the property in summer 2011. Renovations on the facility continued into the following spring.

The release listed Friday, Feb. 1, as the date that WCCH shut down Haven of Hope and officially moved its operations to the Jasper Area Family Service Center on Old Birmingham Highway in Jasper.

Murphy said in the statement that services for the homeless will continue.

“It was the decision of the Board to transition to a new model, at least for now, in which we place clients in temporary housing at a local motel while we create a case file and put together a plan for their rehousing and financial recovery. The good news is that we are still serving those who are homeless, and we can serve single men as well as families within this structure,” Murphy said.

Haven of Hope was open to families and single women.

Executive director Caroline Ivey said in November that 37 homeless adults and children ranging in age from 58 years to five months had been housed in the facility since the May opening. The program had served a total of 62 people either directly or indirectly during those six months.

Courington said all residents living at Haven of Hope were prepared to graduate and move into a more permanent housing situation at the time of the transition.

“Everybody who was currently in-house was placed, and we set them up with furnishings and household items,” she said.

Courington added that WCCH is currently serving five families under the new model.

According to the release, WCCH has access to funding through the Alabama Rural Coalition for the Homeless that will allow the group to pay utility deposits, rental fees and deposits, and other past bills inhibiting the client’s recovery.

Staff will also be available to assist clients with obtaining identification, birth certificates and other documents required to apply for housing.

Ivey, who will continue as executive director, said in the statement that she will spend the next few weeks contacting Haven of Hope supporters to ensure that services continue seamlessly and that donors know how their contributions are being used.

“While this service model does not require staff for around-the-clock shifts, we will have some on-call staff to provide transportation using the Haven of Hope van, and we will use volunteers to help with housing applications and other tasks,” Ivey said. “We will need our church friends to provide advocacy and spiritual care, just as we always have.”

Office hours for WCCH have been set as Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For information, call 387-7408.