There are 60,000 homeless people living on the streets of Los Angeles. And while each has a different reason for being there, all 60,000 have one thing in common: they lack the support they need to work through the trauma that made them homeless in the first place.
Haaven provides the critical support - housing, peer motivation and community - people need to get off the streets, stay off the streets and get their lives back on track.
Our shared housing model provides homes to people who don't have one, at a cost they can afford. We provide welcoming, well-maintained and comfortable living spaces, complete with gardens, outdoor seating areas, and fully outfitted kitchens. Because Haaven means shelter, safety and a second chance for residents, every aspect of our homes is systemized and structured to promote a culture of recovery.
Haaven provides the accountability and guidance that serve as a foundation for making meaningful life improvements. Dedicated, trained and certified peer advocates are assigned to each home. They facilitate house meetings, provide guidance on critical life skills, conduct one-on-one coaching sessions, and foster continued growth for all housemates. While Haaven's Peer Advocates' primary goal is to tend to the culture of recovery in each home, they also interface with Case Managers to help support their treatment plans.
Housemates share feedback, techniques and encouragement to help each other overcome challenges. Due to shared life experiences, housemates don’t judge – they respect each other as coequals working to overcome trauma and improve their lives. By being present as peers, housemates hold each other accountable in day-to-day moments of potential weakness and setbacks.
To speed the implementation of systemic change that will effectively end homelessness as soon as humanly possible. We are committed to perfecting the process, procedures and quality standards of shared housing as a solution that is an effective, efficient and immediate way to get tens of thousands of people off the streets and into proper housing.
Haaven is a “mom and pop” organization. Husband and wife team, John Betz and Heidi Roberts founded, fund and run Haaven with invaluable support, help and expertise from Peer Advocate Rachel Estrada. Haaven is entirely supported through John and Heidi’s personal funds and unfortunately, receives zero financial support from government or any other entity.
Since it opened its first building in April, 2018, Haaven has been housing people at record pace. Despite this, The United Way and LAHSA made a policy decision to cease referring homeless people from their Coordinated Entry System (CES) to our shared housing model months ago. They have cited three reasons:
Haaven asks that residents do not use drugs or alcohol on its properties. The system believes this counters Housing First principles and argues that drug/alcohol use must be permitted within the the home. (For clarification, Haaven does not require sobriety, but asks that residents do not use alcohol and/or drugs in the homes so that cultures of recovery can be fostered.),
LAHSA and The United Way argue that room sharing is “undignified” and does not qualify as housing,
Haaven does not use a standard lease agreement (we believe it’s illegal to use a standard CAR lease for multiple persons at one address - sort of like selling the same car to seven different people). We've been asking LAHSA to provide an agreement that would be acceptable to them for more than a year now.
We sincerely hope that the United Way and LAHSA - the architects and policy leads that control how Los Angeles addresses homelessness - will eventually recognize the urgency of the humanitarian crisis and appreciate the efficacy, efficiency and scalability of shared housing to help relieve it. Until then, Haaven will continue to refine its practices to create a model for how shared housing can work to support people as they transition away from homelessness and get their lives back on track. And while Haaven has been unsuccessful in securing support or funding thus far, John, Heidi and Rachel remain committed to systemic change and, for all of our sakes, will continue to do our best to speed it along.