His name is Tim. When you meet him he smiles, looks you in the eye, and shakes your hand as he begins to tell you about his job and new condo. You think, “What a friendly, outgoing fellow — he has his act together.”
You would never know that two years ago Tim was living in the woods, barely functioning. He had no food, drank water out of a hog trough, and curled up inside a leaky tent as one day blurred into another.
Despair and disillusionment clung to him like a shroud.
Today Tim is gainfully employed, has a roof over his head, and is optimistic about his future. He credits his new lease on life to Camp Haven, a transitional shelter that provides supportive living and a program structured to teach residents how to get and keep community-based employment, save money (80% of income), and take personal and financial responsibility for their lives. It’s a tall order, but it works.
As Chuck Bradley, Camp Haven’s executive director, says, commitment is key. “We have a thorough intake procedure, an extensive application and interview process, a two-phase program, and strict adherence to our guidelines. Residents need to be accountable for their actions. They need to have skin in the game,” he says.