Because COVID-19 poses such a danger when gathering in person, we have been forced to explore other ways to maintain connection. Several kinds of small groups organized by both The Haven and PACEM have historically met in the Sanctuary, as part of day shelter programming. COVID-19 presented us with the challenge of needing to move this group online so that we could communicate with our guests, volunteers, community partners, and staff that are unable to come to the shelter at this time. So, to make this happen, we partnered with Kate Stephenson, an English professor at UVA, Rob White, Haven Day Shelter Coordinator, and Emily Mortimer, a second year student at UVA. Kate’s students will collaborate to produce a literary publication showcasing the work of housed and unhoused members of the community. Voices will debut December 1, 2020. Emily Mortimer will be the managing editor of our webpage and virtual community.
Emily Mortimer is a second year at UVA. There she studies Global Sustainability and English and is involved in Housing and Residence life as a Resident Advisor in addition to being President of the Virginia Student Environmental Coalition.
Kate is an Assistant Professor in the English Department at UVA, where she teaches courses on community engaged writing, travel writing, and twentieth century literature. In her free time, she enjoys biking with her family, playing tennis, reading on rainy days, and getting lost in new places.
Rob is the Day Shelter Coordinator at The Haven. He started working with the homeless population in Charlottesville in 2005 as an Overnight Supervisor with PACEM homeless shelter. He is an adjunct in the English Department at PVCC. He has a small unruly garden on some family land in Fluvanna County, where he listens to birds and will sometimes zoom in for yoga classes and meetings with a meditation group.
We’ve thought long and hard about a central theme for our first publication. What we ended up with turned out to be something simple, from the heart, and close at hand: Home. How do we discuss “home” in a time of quarantine and in a time of unrest and instability in our environment, culture, and justice systems? We think writers, artists, community organizers, and activists in discussion are our best chance at finding a good answer to this question. It’s going to be hard work, and it may get messy and contentious at times. But we’re confident in the organic way communities have in meeting challenges and solving problems. We want to make something beautiful.
Although the physical spaces at The Haven remain incredibly special in the services that they continue to provide for the community, the warm, welcoming environment that draws so many through its doors was only possible because of the people that inhabited it. We hope that this website will serve as a way to not only maintain but strengthen the community around The Haven by making that environment more accessible at all times, even after the current circumstances have passed.
This site was created to support the community at The Haven and, although information may be repeated here, by no means should this be your first avenue of exposure to what The Haven does. If this is your first time hearing about this organization, you are absolutely welcome to continue utilizing this site, but make sure to check out their parent website, thehaven.org.