For nearly three decades, Chicago’s A Safe Haven (ASH) has been offering shelter to those suffering from addiction as they transition into a new and healthier life.
A Safe Haven is a multi-award-winning, vertically integrated, social and economic development model that rebuilds the lives of people impacted by poverty, behavioral healthcare, substance abuse, prison reentry, and homelessness with a holistic, individualized, case management approach.
“When we started ASH, we were at the tip of the opioid epidemic. ASH is as relevant today as it was when we began,” says Neli Vazquez Rowland, who founded the 501(c)3 organization in1994 with her husband and military veteran, Brian. She currently serves as president of ASH. “We both had busy financial careers when our family decided it was time to give back. Based on our personal experience with overcoming alcoholism and addiction in our family, we knew first-hand how few resources were available to anyone who was battling this illness.”
ASH was built from the ground up with the Rowlands’ understanding of where the gaps in the system were. They felt a gravitational pull to change the way things had always been done. “Our goal with ASH is to give people with challenges and barriers to getting jobs and housing the access to the recovery services they need in order to achieve employment and shelter — the essentials to getting back on their feet,” Vazquez Rowland says.
ASH has helped nearly 130,000 people since its inception charter a path to a new beginning. This last March, Vasquez Rowland launched her first book telling 12 such success stories, Healing: Real Stories Told By People Who Have Overcome The Homeless And Opioid Epidemics.
“I hope this book gives people a behind-the-scenes look at how people become homeless and how they find their way back to being productive members of society,” she says. “We have such a wide array of people who have been through our program. I hope readers come away feeling inspired by these stories.”
ASH is hosting its 2nd Annual Global Virtual Run/Walk To End Homelessness. Participants will be able to register to run or walk a 5k, 10k, half marathon or a marathon during the week starting Saturday, July 17 to Sunday, July 25.
Tens of thousands of people have participated in this highly anticipated annual Run/Walk To End Homelessness since its inception in 2010. All proceeds go directly to help feed and house an average of 5,000 homeless people residing at ASH annually—including reentry populations, women and children, youth, military and veterans.
Registration is open. To participate in the event or to donate to support ASH, click below.
ASH invites the business community and the public to show its support and sponsor and/or sign up to be a part of the run/walk to help raise awareness and support for the urgent issue of homelessness. Due to the fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic, ASH is seeing a surge in demand for food, housing and services.
The virtual event will take place anytime during the entire week starting on Saturday, July 17 to Sunday, July 25. You can start and finish your race wherever you want, either on your favorite vacation destination or right outside the front door of your home.
To learn more about ASH, visit asafehaven.org.