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5 years later, The Haven Home still helping families get back on their feet

CLEVELAND — Cuyahoga County’s largest overflow shelter for women and children, The Haven Home, is helping one Cleveland mother heal, and rebuild a better life with her family.

“I look at my kids and always remember that I gotta keep going,” the mother, Treasure, said.

She lives at the shelter with her 2 year old and 4 year old sons.

The shelter opened five years ago this holiday season. At that time, it was supposed to be temporary. However, The Haven Home is still providing help and hope to so many mothers.

Treasure and her children are waiting for room to open at one of three, county-funded family shelters in Cleveland.

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At The Haven Home, they have their own space, access to meals and programs. And with the holidays here, gifts for the kids too.

Treasure said it is a blessing for her and her sons.

“It is motivating me a lot,” she said.

Five years ago, Treasure and her sons would’ve been sleeping on a gym floor. At that time, Cuyahoga County didn’t have enough beds for emergency overflow.

The Haven Home opened to get families off the floor and better connected to services. It was supposed to be open just a few months, but five years later its still operating and at capacity nearly every single night. Capacity is 17 families or about 50 individuals, with two staff.

Also, The Haven Home has added more services and programs to help mothers, like Treasure, and their children have the opportunity to rebuild their lives..

“All it takes is one crisis,” said Cindy Rios, executive director of The Haven Home.

Rios says not only is the demand still high, but the women are also now staying longer.

“It used to be they were here for a week or so, but now they’re here for four or five weeks,” said Rios.

“It’s not because we’re at capacity, it’s because the whole system is at capacity and there’s just not enough to help people.”

Affordable housing is a big issue.

For example, housing provider EDEN reports a 30% increase in services since 2019.

“Some days, I’m overwhelmed and stressed because some people accept EDEN, others don’t,” Treasure explained, saying securing housing on the voucher system can be competitive and challenging.

The Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority says there are currently 10,620 people on the waitlist for CMHA public housing; 2,777 of the families on the waitlist have children. The waitlist for vouchers through the Housing Choice Voucher Program is currently 14,913—of those—6,009 of the families have children.

Rios said you can’t just put a family into a home and call it good. She says it’s a great start, but they need mentorship and support. She said she often gets calls for help with diapers and more from families who stayed at The Haven Home several years ago.

Despite the difficulties securing housing, Treasure said she feels encouraged and supported at The Haven Home.

“Being here has taught me a lot,” she said. “It really did. It’s kept me sane. It is what you make it.”

Rios said The Haven Home wouldn’t have made it these five years without the community’s support.

“People give their time; some people give their treasure, some people collect items for us. There are a lot of different ways people can help. And it really is our responsibility to do that,” she said.

And for mothers and children like Treasure and her sons, it’s making a difference.

Treasure just got a job at a day care. She said a rep from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services visited The Haven Home and helped with her resume and job search.

She is also enrolling in a teaching program and is determined to build a better life for her and her sons.

Keep fighting,” said Treasure. “Every day. Even with tears in your eyes, get up and keep fighting. Don’t stop. There’s a rainbow on the other side of this rain.

Shelter acts as a haven to women and their children (spectrumnews1.com)

Shelter acts as a haven to women and their children (spectrumnews1.com)

CLEVELAND — Just like a mother is to her children, the Haven Home aims to be a nurturing and supportive place with Executive Director Cindy Rios as the lifeline behind it all.

What You Need To Know

  • The Haven Home is an emergency overflow shelter for women and their children in Cuyahoga County
  • The home was started in 2017 and has 17 rooms
  • The staff does more than just put a roof over the families’ heads
  • They offer programming to help the women get a fresh start


Their monthly diaper distribution is just one of many programs the home offers.

“We give out about 2,000 diapers every month,” Rios said. “We ask the families to register in advance so we know we have the sizes available. So we give them a pack of diapers. We give them some baby wipes.”

The home has 17 rooms, which Rios said can comfortably fit around 10 families while they wait to be placed in a more permanent shelter. The Haven Home was established as a “family overflow shelter” in 2017 for homeless women and their children in Cuyahoga County. The shelter exists to provide temporary emergency shelter until a bed becomes available at a family shelter.

“Cuyahoga County is one of the few counties that has a mandate to always provide shelter,” Rios said. “So no one goes unsheltered. So when all the other family shelters are full, they come here.”

Some families stay for a few days while others stay for a few months. Regardless of the length of their stay, Rios and the Haven Home staff try to make every room feel like home.

“I want this to be a place that I would sleep in, and that’s all of our goals here,” she said.

To Rios and the staff, the Haven Home is about more than just putting a roof over the families’ heads. She wants the Haven Home to be that first step in helping moms and their children take control of their lives.

“We treat everybody the same like this is our home and just like in your home,” she said. “You would reach out to your neighbors if they were in need. You would help them. We do the same. It’s giving them some, some sustainable resources, and helping them form healthy relationships.”

Donations allow Rios and the Haven Home team to offer families three meals a day, laundry, and hygiene items among other necessities.

“When the families come here, they’re already in an uncomfortable situation,” Rios said. “They’re already experiencing grief and loss. And so we want to make sure that we start out the relationship in a helping mode. We don’t want someone to feel uncomfortable by having to ask for some toothpaste or deodorant or any of the basic needs that many of us take for granted.”

Pastor Richard Gibson of the nearby Elizabeth Baptist Church calls the home a critical component of the community.

“This is part of loving our neighbor,” he said. “This is a natural outgrowth of our faith because we’re supposed to help those who are sick, those who are homeless, those who are without clothes, those who are without food. And so this is what we’re supposed to do.”

He enjoys seeing the Haven Home help all families succeed and credits Rios for helping make that success a reality.

“I’m so impressed with Cindy’s leadership and how she and the rest of the staff continue to expand and be nimble to meet the needs of those who come in,” Gibson said. “When we first started this, the focus was primarily on shelter, but it has grown significantly.”

He said he’s had his own challenges in life and that he comes into the shelter and sees these families prosper and leave it better than when they entered, carrying with them hope at a critical time in their lives.

“And I just love doing it,” he said. “I love being here.”

For more information about the Haven Home you can visit the website here.


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Charter Communications gives $500,000 to local charities (spectrumnews1.com)

Charter Communications gives $500,000 to local charities (spectrumnews1.com)

CLEVELAND — Charter Communications, the parent company of Spectrum News, partnered with the Cleveland Foundation and other organizations to distribute a total of around $500,000 to several local nonprofits.

What You Need To Know

  • Between July 21-23, Charter Communications joined the Cleveland Foundation and other agencies to recognize and award grants to several community organizations and nonprofits
  • The awards totalled around $500,000
  • The funding came from various sources, including Charter’s Spectrum Employee Community Grant program, the Spectrum Digital Education Grant program and the Spectrum-Cleveland City Council Neighborhood Technology Trust Fund


The funding came from Charter’s Spectrum Employee Community Grants program, the  Spectrum Digital Education Program and the Spectrum-Cleveland City Council Neighborhood Technology Trust Fund.

The Spectrum-Cleveland City Council Neighborhood Technology Fund was established in 2000 to support nonprofits that work to advance digital literacy, internet adoption and broad technological empowerment in targeted neighborhoods of Cleveland. The awards were given over a three-day period.

On Wednesday, July 21, the  Boys Hope Girls Hope of Northeastern Ohio received $5,000 and 25 new Chromebooks to help expand digital literacy skills. It’s an international organization that has several local branches, including the one in Cleveland, that helps train young people to prepare for a better education and career.

On Thursday, July 22, The Haven Home received a $10,000 grant. The Haven Home is an emergency overflow shelter for women and their children in Cuyahoga County.

Haven Home Executive Director Cindy Rios said the money will be used to help the moms and children at the shelter have a more comfortable stay.

“We want this building to feel like home when they come in,” said Rios. “We don’t want it to feel like an institution. We don’t want them to feel like they’re just a statistic here. We try to personalize things and mom comes in and she’s got a young daughter for example and they don’t have anything, you know we want to find her some cute outfits to wear or a book bag for school so she feels like other kids feel.”

On the same day, Charter offered a training class at the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority for senior citizens to help them learn how to use technology.

Each of the attendees and previous graduates of the course were given a brand new laptop to help them continue to improve their digital literacy skills. One of the senior citizens who had previously graduated from the digital literacy training class was excited about the unexpected gift.

“I didn’t really realize I was gonna get one, but I can communicate with my grandkids, my son and his family, and the sisters, nephews and the whole family,” said Claricer Borders, 75.

The CEO of CMHA Jeffery Patterson said he is excited to help the people in his community bridge the digital divide.

“I think the residents enjoy the opportunity to be able to be in a program, learn and then get the equipment to be able to help them do what they want to do in terms of digital technology,” said Patterson. “it’s great to have a partnership with Spectrum where they come into the community, provide these opportunities and help our community get connected.”

On Friday, July 23, the Masjid Bilal of Cleveland, the first Mosque built from the ground up in Greater Cleveland and the first mosque built by a predominantly African American congregation in the U.S., received $5,000 and 25 laptops.

The Masjid said it plans to distribute the laptops to students in its computer literacy courses and use the funds to upgrade an existing computer lab.

In total, over the three-day period, Charter awarded nearly half a million dollars.

As of July 16, 2021, Charter has granted more than $25,000 to Cleveland organizations in support of access to technology and digital literacy skills through its Spectrum Digital Education Program.The Spectrum Employee Community Grants has awarded 327 grants to nonprofits, totaling $854,500 in funding across 30 states.

Just in Cleveland, Charter has granted $31,000 to organizations in support of critical social needs for families, youth in crisis and community members in need of food and shelter.

July 27 Editor’s Note: The spelling of Jeffery Patterson’s name has been corrected. 


View Original Article: https://spectrumnews1.com/oh/cleveland/news/2021/07/26/charter-communications-giving–500-000-to-local-charities-?fbclid=IwAR238r1sZg4TGmZPqbTVXBzMvBz-q6BAJkBicpuigUCYd9GLEfp8qi-QElk


Community steps up, helps children living in Cleveland overflow shelter

Posted at 3:31 PM, Sep 01, 2021
and last updated 6:20 PM, Sep 01, 2021

CLEVELAND — With a steady stream of smiles and squeals of joy, 3-year-old Jaza Diaz breaks-in the new play area right behind the Haven Home on Cleveland’s southeast side.

“I feel safer because I don’t know this area that well,” said Asianna Diaz.

The enclosed space provides a much-needed escape for children living at the family overflow shelter.

“This is just a way for them to play with other kids sometimes. They can grow up really quickly when they’re going through a lot of trauma, a lot of changes in their lives, and they need to be a kid and we need to make sure we provide a space for them to do that,” said Cynthia Rios, executive director of Haven Home.

Without the funds for Haven Home to make it a reality, Jerry Seppelt and the Southeast Kiwanis Club stepped-in.

“They need to know somebody cares about them,” said Seppelt.


The club teamed-up with Little Tikes to donate the play equipment and money to pay for the fence.

“They can see that the community is interested in them, so that they can move to the next level and be what they should be,” said Seppelt.

Rios said this donation not only shows moms there’s compassion in the community, it drives homes that the facility thinks about their well-being beyond the four walls.

“The kids need to be outdoors, the kids need to burn off energy, mom needs to be outside and get some sunshine too, so we think about more than just providing emergency shelter to them,” said Rios.

As she works toward finding stable housing, Asianna Diaz, a mom of two, said the new play area is a stress reliever for families like hers facing uncertain times.

“I think it’s really nice what they did, and we appreciate it a lot because not many people do that. It’s really a great community and I’m really thankful for it,” said Diaz.

View Original Article: https://www.news5cleveland.com/news/local-news/community-steps-up-helps-children-living-in-cleveland-overflow-shelter