Chatham Hope Haven men's shelter, April 19, 2017. (Photo by Natalia Vega)

Chatham Hope Haven To Open Doors For Overnight Service

After two years of renovations, Chatham Hope Haven is finally ready to offer homeless men a warm and safe place to sleep.

The Chatham Hope Haven, formally known as New Beginning House, announced that it will begin providing overnight service on Monday, November 20. The shelter has been working towards the vision of providing overnight shelter for homeless men since 2015.

Over the past few years, the shelter has undergone countless renovations, including the installation of a new floor, roof, and windows. The shelter has also received many upgrades to comply with fire codes.

The shelter, which is located at 183 Wellington St. W in Chatham, will be open from 7pm to 7am, seven days a week.

Volunteer Wanda Bell says the shelter is very excited to start its overnight service.

“Anyone man who is in need of shelter can come during the day and register. We have ten cots and now we’re able to offer those to those in need,” says Bell.

According to Bell, beds will be assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. She says drugs, alcohol and weapons are prohibited.

Bell says there’s still lots to be done to get ready for Monday’s start of the overnight service.

“Right now we’re getting the schedule together for our volunteers. We have about 40 volunteers who have been trained. We’re just making sure that we know what we’re doing… reviewing the protocols and everything. It’s an exciting time, making sure it’s clean and organized again,” says Bell.

Bell says the shelter is still looking for more volunteers, especially male volunteers, to potentially break up longer 12-hour shifts. She says the shelter is also looking for organizations or church groups to commit to one evening or more per month. Those interested can call 519-351-4010 to arrange training. She says all necessary policies and procedures must be learned, and a police check is required. Those who have been trained are asked to call the office to secure their space in the schedule.

Bell says she is so thankful for the community’s continued support.

“We are so thankful for all those who donate their time, who come by faithfully giving us food and clothing, just all the prayers and support, and of course, the financial donations have been very important as we’ve had some major renovations,” she says.

Recently, local business man Victor Putin donated a fire alarm and students at Indian Creek Public School fundraised over $600. As well, Merlin Legion held a successful dinner and silent auction earlier this year. The Chatham Hope Haven also recognizes Emanual Baptist Church Youth Group for their monthly volunteer services.

Program Manager Faye Wilson says she feels so grateful.

“We have been very blessed at how the community has come together to make this happen. We are thankful to all volunteers, past and present, and for the many donations, of all types — large and small,” says Wilson.

Donations can be sent to the Chatham Hope Haven’s office or made online through their website. 

-With files from Natalia Vega