Dedicated to transforming the lives of people experiencing homelessness, Good Samaritan Haven is more than just a homeless shelter. The organization has a variety of facilities that provide guests with shelter beds, essential items to meet their basic needs, and a wide range of support services to help them gain employment, apply for benefits, find treatment, and locate stable housing. The Haven is working to reduce homelessness in Central Vermont while prioritizing that every person is treated with dignity, compassion, and respect during their time of need.
As the incidence of homelessness in Central Vermont increases, Good Samaritan Haven’s services are more critical than ever. Lack of affordable housing and lack of living wages make it difficult for many people to stay above water. Long waitlists to get into housing and a complicated process for those who do not meet eligibility because of past evictions and, in some cases, criminal history, are additional problems some people face. Mental illness and substance abuse are two other primary causes of homelessness in our area. Many clients are facing one or both of these issues.
Good Samaritan Haven offers the things guests need for daily life in the shelter, such as hygiene items, bedding, and socks. One of the significant challenges for guests is transportation in our rural area. Most guests do not have a car, so they need to access the bus for doctor’s appointments, employment, and social services. The Haven is able to offer a limited number of bus passes for guests who have no income.
Housing counselors provide case management. Good Samaritan Haven also has a peer support services employee who helps guests complete chores and learn practical life skills. And there is an adult access clinician from Washington County Mental Health who is available to meet with guests. The Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness (PATH) program offers additional assistance to people dealing with mental health problems. The Family Supportive Housing program provides assistance to parents working on family reunification and offers help with housing and other needed support.
In 2019, Good Samaritan Haven helped 18 people gain stable housing, served 203 people at their facility, served 11,310 meals, and saw their guests stay an average length of 61 days.
Now through March 1, Hunger Mountain Co-op shoppers can get involved by rounding up their purchase to the next dollar every time they check out, donating that spare change to Good Samaritan Haven and their invaluable work. On Valentine’s Day, Friday, Feb. 14, the Co-op will match all of the Give Change register donations to provide even more support to Good Samaritan Haven.
Text provided by Hunger Mountain Co-op.