Haven House Awarded $30K in Grants, Announces Match Program

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Tuesday, September 10, 2019, 9:22 am
Noa Kuszai

Molly Cook of Haven House. Photos by Raymond Holt.

With continuing cuts to the funding of social service agencies by the City of East Lansing, Haven House’s Development Director Molly Cook was happy to contact ELi recently with the news that her organization has been awarded a pair of grants and launched a matching-pledge campaign.

Haven House’s mission is to provide “emergency housing and support services for one-parent and two-parent families with children. The shelter helps families who are homeless prepare for permanent housing by developing and promoting self-sufficiency, stability, and financial responsibility.”

It is one of only a handful of shelters in the area to provide emergency housing to families. The new funding will allow Haven House to increase the number of families that it can help, thereby decreasing the number of homeless adults and children.

The grants, which total $30,000, come from the R.E. Olds Foundation and the Joe D. Pentecost Foundation. An additional 45 families will obtain help through the funding this year, with 165 families aided over the next five years by the grants.

How will the matching campaign work?

According to a press release from Haven House, “The first fifteen donors who pledge $1,000 per year for five years will see a three-to-one match in their first year of their pledge payment, tripling the impact they have on helping homeless families quickly reach housing.”

Above: Artwork by a child resident of Haven House.

Diana Tarpoff, East Lansing native and Co-Chair and Grants Manager of the R.E. Olds Foundation, says that the mission of Haven House overlaps with that of her foundation.

“We are committed, as a foundation, to supporting families and youth,” Tarpoff is quoted as saying in the press release. “Seeing the care and support that Haven House provides to homeless families made them a natural partner for us. Being able to help families staying in my neighborhood is an added bonus.”

These grants come as good news after a tumultuous City Council meeting in May in which there was a 4-1 vote in favor of giving $7,000 to Haven House.

The decision came after City Council decided to no longer fund most social services and Council member Aaron Stephens asked for an additional $7,000 to the cultural arts grants program. Council member Ruth Beier objected to defunding social services while funding arts, and encouraged that the amount Stephens asked for the arts program instead to go to Haven House.

Council member Shanna Draheim agreed with the sentiment, saying she is a “huge supporter” of Haven House’s work, but remained steadily against having City funds go to support external social service agencies when money is tight. (Hers was the lone vote against the extra funding.)

In its announcement of the new funding, Haven House staff said they are “grateful for the generosity of the R.E. Olds Foundation, the Joe D. Pentecost Foundation, and the many donors and volunteers who contribute each year.”

Gabriel Biber, Executive Director of Haven House, was quoted as saying that it “takes the commitment of a community to support homeless families. We are thankful for the many donors and volunteers who further our mission every day.”

Haven House is planning a pledge breakfast for Spring 2020 to share a report of its ongoing work.


Note: Due to an editing error, when published this article stated that Haven House is the only homeless shelter in the area for families. Molly Cook wrote to us to note, " Homeless Angels also shelters families, and we often refer to them as well." The erroneous sentence was corrected at 1:30 p.m. on the day of publication.

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