The Haven Project A Brief History

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The Haven Project began full-time operation in November 2012 after more than a year of preparatory work by program director, Gini Mazman.

The Haven Project was created to fill a gap in services for homeless young adults in the city of Lynn and surrounding areas, a population that had previously been underserved.

As the Haven Project was looking for a place in which to establish its programming, East Coast International Church (ECIC) stepped forward to contribute, donating a large program space and countless in-kind resources. ECIC continues to be a partner of the Haven Project’s by providing space for our programming — a space which is centrally located in downtown Lynn and easily accessible by public transportation.

The Haven Project is well known as a key advocate and provider of services on the North Shore. It continues to grow in the number of clients assisted and programs are expanding to meet the growing and complex needs of the homeless young adult population.

Achievements/Results Highlights of Our History and Statistics

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We are intentionally and wisely investing in several areas to ensure program sustainability and access to key life experiences for the young adults.

Key achievements include:

  • Obtained our 501c3 status, developed program protocols and monitoring systems, developed an outreach strategy and hired and trained staff on effective case management.
  • Developed key community relationships with shelter providers, high schools and colleges, volunteers, employers and housing agencies.
  • Obtained permission to work on-site at Lynn Public Schools.
  • Opened Land of a Thousand Hills in January 2016, a social enterprise which provides paid job training and career development opportunities for our clients.
  • Opened our in-house, online education lab to offer individual tutoring on ESL, Hiset (GED) and Apex (online high school courses).
  • Developed a job training program. This program currently offers on-site employment opportunities to 20 clients each year, offers weekly classes related to job skills and provides individual resume development and career planning for 80% of drop in center participants.
  • Re-named our job-training program Catalyst, and developed a product line being sold in our Café currently and will eventually be sold on our website (jewelry, handmade organic body scrubs, and coffee sleeves). This product line allows us to offer low barrier employment and training opportunities for homeless unaccompanied young adults that have struggles that prevent them from working.
  • Opened our first transitional apartment for 5 female clients ages 18-24 to provide rapid, safe, and affordable housing while they work to save money, continue their education, and secure viable long-term housing.
  • Thousand Hills Café was voted Best in the North Shore (BONS) in both editors and readers’ choice for best coffee shop.
  • Awarded Non-Profit of the Year by Lynn Area Chamber of Commerce.

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The mission of the Haven Project is to equip and empower homeless unaccompanied youth by providing them with the support and resources to transition out of homelessness and lead independent lives. By identifying each client’s unique needs and circumstances, we are able to tailor an individualized plan for achieving success and stability.

Indicators of success are:

  • Engage over 200 young adults per year, which generally involves meeting and establishing relationships with 2-3 new young adults per week. Continuing weekly street outreach and attending community meetings with social service providers will help to make this possible.
  • Ensure that 100% of eligible youth have enrolled in Mass Health and/or SNAP food stamp benefits to receive necessary services.
  • Thorough volunteer involvement, provide over 1200 home cooked meals annually to our clients.
  • Offer engaging and beneficial programming at the drop-in center. Successful programming has been found to encourage 50% of youth to attend the drop-in center more than 5 times.
  • Arrange volunteer opportunities for 20 youth to help with skill building and to provide basic work experience.
  • House 20 youth in our apartment and our host home placements.
  • Employ 25 homeless youth in our on-site job training program, employ over 40 clients in our paid catalyst workshops and engage over 25 youth in community based volunteer activities.
  • Enroll 25 homeless youth in a GED/vocational/job corps, assist 25 clients to achieve high school level education.
  • Maintain phone and/or Facebook contact with 35 youth each day.
  • Engage 20 youth in individual and/or group counseling.
  • Open a satellite location in a Salem High School.

Our Space 57 Munroe Street

ECIC facadeLocated in the heart of downtown Lynn, we have had a strong beginning, in part due to the support of our community partners, volunteers and the many resources that they have offered to support the young people with whom we work. Because over 50% of our operating costs are donated, we are able to magnify the impact of cash donations. We also have a strong advisory board of community volunteers who provide guidance, support and advocacy for the young adults.

How We Run Our Clients & Our Hours

20140505_144447We initially set a goal of reaching two to three new young people per week, but have been surpassing that number and making contact with anywhere from three to five new individuals weekly. Some have been in contact with us for only a few days or weeks, while others have sustained long-term relationships with the program over the course of several months as we work with them through ongoing issues related to housing, school, jobs, and other life circumstances. Our progress with these young people has been significant and life changing.

We are on the second floor at 57 Munroe St. in downtown Lynn, MA right next to the Lynn Commuter Rail and bus station. Our program runs Monday-Friday from 4:00-7:00pm. Young people in need of help may stop by at any of those hours. We are also available outside of program hours by phone at 781-913-5738 to answer questions about the program and to offer emergency assistance to young adults.