Funding fight: Brown, Shadyac spar over Haven

News that the Haven homeless day shelter is seeking $45,000 in city funds to help cover next year's operating expenses has sparked dueling emails between outspoken downtown businessman Mark Brown and the Haven's patron saint, blockbuster film director Tom Shadyac.

"The Haven's numbers speak for themselves," writes Main Street Arena owner Brown March 16 in an early morning email to Haven administrators, city councilors, and Shadyac, criticizing the nonprofit for inefficiency in programs and alleging a failure to work with the downtown community.

On all fronts, Brown claims, the day shelter is failing– and he uses statistics to make his case. Using numbers given in a March 16 NBC29 news report, such as an annual operating budget of about $385,000 and 46 jobs found, Brown calculates that the Haven spends nearly $10,000 per job.

He applies similar analysis– appearing to divide the entire monthly budget by each category– to other areas. With 19 Haven guests finding homes, that's a Brown-calculated cost of $23,640 per find. With 24 guests entering substance abuse counseling, that's a Brown-estimated cost of about $18,715 per referral.

"We could send them all to the Betty Ford Clinic for that amount," says Brown.

At the same time, Brown says, since the Haven's opening 14 months ago, police have responded there 140 times– an average of 10 visits per month.

Not so fast, according to Kaki Dimock, Haven executive director, who says there are several problems with Brown's analysis. First, she says, he measured only "transformative outcomes" rather than "respite care," which includes basic services the Haven provides: showers, personal storage space, use of computers, shelter, and food. In addition, Dimock criticizes Brown's use of the entire operating budget to calculate every individual item. And finally, Dimock says, Brown's calculations use total visits– 35,600 in 14 months– rather than the 260 individuals she says the Haven served. Using that figure, the fact that 46 people found jobs– nearly 20 percent– may seem more impressive.

"It's better than a lot of employment placement programs," says Dimock, attributing success to close contact between Haven patrons and volunteers, many of whom provide job-hunting tips about businesses that are hiring and offering assistance in filling out employment applications.

Brown's email also hit a nerve with the shelter's founder, Hollywood-area film director Tom Shadyac, who responded within hours, calling himself "deeply saddened" by the calculus.

"We are missing the greater good of the establishment," writes Shadyac, who shares Dimock's enthusiasm for the Haven's "respite" offerings. "How many people were fed who might not otherwise have been fed?" he asks. "How many people found comfort and warmth who might not otherwise have been able to do so?"

Shadyac– who directed some of Hollywood's most successful comedies including Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and Liar, Liar– has in recent years turned to more philosophical pursuits, including living in a trailer and making a soul-searching documentary called I Am. Not to mention spending over $3 million to launch the Haven.

While he agrees that the Haven can improve, there are "statistics beneath the statistics," says Shadyac.

"How many people were greeted with kindness, and looked into the eyes of compassion, who might otherwise have felt marginalized?" asks Shadyac. "How many volunteers and workers have been edified and uplifted by serving their fellow man? And please tell me, while we're calculating numbers, how much money is it worth for a human being to feel loved by another?"

Brown has pointed out that he has shown compassion by hiring Haven visitors at what had been known as the Charlottesville Ice Park. And Brown's email notes that he even offered to donate a night at the Arena for a Haven fundraiser, a declined offer that, he contends, might have helped raise an amount approaching the $45,000 now sought from taxpayers.

This would not be the first time that Haven supporters and Brown have stood on opposite sides of an issue. As reported in the Hook's December 9 cover story, while a Haven board member talked of a Constitutional right to beg, the group was declining a Brown entreaty to curtail the practice by encouraging shoppers to make donations directly to the Haven.

Dimock says the Haven made its request for city money based on the fact that many local nonprofits receive approximately one-third their operating budgets from public funds. Eventually, she says, the Haven aims to receive about $100,000 in public funds, but insists it won't all come from the city.

"Forty-five percent of our people are from Charlottesville," she says, explaining the $45,000 requested from Charlottesville. Since 10 percent hail from Albemarle County, Dimock says, the Haven has asked Albemarle to pitch in $10,000 next year. And in coming years, she hopes outlying counties including Fluvanna will provide their own smaller share.

And she says that just because some of the Haven's services don't immediately yield measurable results in terms of jobs found, or ID cards obtained, doesn't mean they're without value.

"We defend the compassionate and holistic approach," she says, "but it's also a strategy for change."

Shadyac ends his heartfelt missive on a scriptural note: "I am reminded of the admonition of one who saw our interconnection and eternal brotherhood when he said simply, clearly, and directly, 'That which you do for the least of my brothers, you do for me.'"

Brown, however, says quoting scripture doesn't convince him of the need for public money.

"I think that the city should be funding programs that have measurable impact," says Brown, "not giving $45,000 to groups that provide smiles."

–Story updated 3:29pm on Thursday, March 17 with quotes from Kaki Dimock.


There they go mixing politics and religion - Jesus never asked Rome to give a dime/denarii to the poor but he did expect the Church to do so out of its love for him which I assume, since I'm not a Calvinist, one is still free to join or not.

The city using a process called something like "outcome based" that uses predefined measurable goals when funding non-governmental agencies. I am sure that Council will bypass thisp process however and give them the money from one of the many slush funds it has. If the people need to feel loved, the Salvation Army is a very loving organization three blocks from The haven. It has been loving homeless people for decades.
"We are missing the greater good of the establishment," writes Shadyac. "How many people were fed who might not otherwise have been fed? How many people found comfort and warmth who might not otherwise have been able to do so?" These outcomes are not measurable becuase of the use of the word "might." He should ask "How many people were fed?" and "How many people visited the center?" Now that The Haven has opened has the downtown churches closed their soup kitchens?

I strongly encourage all those wanting to weigh in on this issue to read this article from the New Yorker: The solutions aren't simple or neat--but must be found for Charlottesville to continue to be a compassionate, but clear-eyed, city. Supportive housing is a critical piece of the answer. The group IMPACT will be making such a case for the mentally ill later this month. If people feel strongly about this they should work to understand all the issues and become part of the solution.

Perhaps Mr. Shadyac can find it in his heart to fund what he has wrought.

I hope everyone appreciates all the great new "visitors" downtown. I was hoping you wouldn't mind fronting us $45,000. Never mind asking for a dollar on the street with a card board sign, we have decided efficiency demands we ask the entire community all at once for the big money, we would have made a sign but we can't afford a sharpie any longer, Hollywood doesn't return my calls anymore, you must have compassion my brothers and sisters.....come visit me in Malibu sometime.

P.S. Thanks for the cash, I new you would understand

Brown's math is rhetorically amusing, but egregiously inaccurate in a way that makes his conclusions gravely misleading, to a degree that I think warrants clarification by The Hook. Brown is treating each outcome as if it is the sole mission of the organization, ignoring all other outcomes which he also names. This is like asserting that the City of Charlottesville is an economic failure because with a $126M budget, they manage to hire just one city manager, averaging $126M per city manager. The ability to divide two numbers doesn't make the resulting number meaningful.

Brown might as well say that with an annual budget or $385,000, The Haven has found 46 jobs for people, homes for 19 people, and substance abuse counseling for 24 people, that's a cost-per-assistance of $4,812. Or he might say that with 65,000 annual man-hours of day sheltering done at The Haven—and I'm making that number up—that they pay $5.92/person/hour to shelter people.

To take the entire budget of the organization and divide it by each discrete activity and pretend that's the cost of those activities is at best deeply ignorant, and at worst willfully misleading. I hope that Mr. Brown doesn't keep the books of his business in the same manner—that's a quick route to an IRS audit.

Is the county being asked for 45K as well ?

Way to go Waldo. Nail meets head.

waldo how is this for an accurate analysis...

The haven claims 85 visitors a day 365 days a year.

385k annual budget comes to 1054.00 dollars per day

1054.00 divided by 85 visitors is 12.40 cents a day.

Adding an additional 45k to the 385k comes to 430k or 1178 a day or 13.86 per person per day.

That would be ok to spend on housing and feeding the people assuming they only need to provide food and shelter and provide volunteer counseling. The problem comes in when we add in the cost of 140 police visits, ER room visits from the people because they are allowed to use drugs and drink and still stay there, lost business on the downtown mall from people who don't want to be harrassed by people who they are paying for their food and shelter for.

The real honest question is what do we want to do with these folks and which ones deserve our help. Some say anyone from anywhere deserves help. Some say we have enough of our own hometown folks to take care of. Others want us to separate the needy from the lazy. There are also those who feel that many of these peoople are there by choice because they don't like the rules at home or a job.(or society for that matter).

That is a discuassion that should be had and then the voters should get to decide how far we want to go to help them.

As for me I want there to be rules about being sober or not stoned. I want there to be enough to have these people safe but uncomfortable enough that they will attempt to better themselves and certainly not so easy that people come here form elswhere because they heard how easy it is. (which already happens) I want people who are receiving a taxpayer funded meal or shelter to agree not to harass people on the downtown mall.

Some people say that the down and out should stay in the shadows. I don't agree with them but I also think I should be able to walk down the mall without being harrassed by loudmuth drunks who didn't work all day. (by choice)

Training ,and retraining of people without employment barriers is very expensive . Those with barriers such as addictions,attitudenal,criminal convictions etc are more expensive with the odds stacked against success at the outset . Just being there adds value to those have missed out . It gives them hope and has unmeasurable value added benefits . The facility by offering services reduces stress on other areas which would happen . Such costs would be bourne by citizens directly or indirectly via increased taxes .Prevention is always more cost effective .

Waldo, I don't think the Hook erred by not offering a clarification of Mr. Brown's figures. This is an article about two points of view that came to light in e-mails from Mr. Brown and Mr. Shadyac.

If the Hook were to analyze Mr. Brown's line of reasoning they would also be obligated to do the same for Mr. Shaydac's, and I'm not sure how a journalist would go about doing that .

First collector: At this festive time of year, Mr. Scrooge, it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the poor and destitute.
Ebenezer: Are there no prisons?
First Collector: Plenty of prisons.
Ebenezer: And the union workhouses - are they still in operation?
First Collector: They are. I wish I could say they were not.
Ebenezer: Oh, from what you said at first I was afraid that something had happened to stop them in their useful course. I'm very glad to hear it.
First Collector: I don't think you quite understand us, sir. A few of us are endeavoring to buy the poor some meat and drink, and means of warmth.
Ebenezer: Why?
First Collector: Because it is at Christmastime that want is most keenly felt, and abundance rejoices. Now what can I put you down for?
Ebenezer: Huh! Nothing!
Second Collector: You wish to be anonymous?
Ebenezer: [firmly, but calmly] I wish to be left alone. Since you ask me what I wish sir, that is my answer. I help to support the establishments I have named; those who are badly off must go there.
First Collector: Many can't go there.
Second Collector: And some would rather die.

Jacob Marley: In life, my spirit never rose beyond the limits of our money-changing holes! Now I am doomed to wander without rest or peace, incessant torture and remorse!
Ebenezer: But it was only that you were a good man of business, Jacob!
Jacob Marley: BUSINESS? Mankind was my business! Their common welfare was my business! And it is at this time of the rolling year that I suffer most!

Ebenezer: [at a homeless shelter where Alice is working] Spirit, are these people real, or are they shadows?
Spirit of Christmas Present: They are real. We are the shadows.
Ebenezer: Both of us?
Spirit of Christmas Present: Did you not cut yourself off from you fellow man when you lost the love of that delicate creature?

Spirit of Christmas Present: My time with you is at an end, Ebenezer Scrooge. Will you profit from what I've shown you of the good in most men's hearts?
Ebenezer: I don't know, how can I promise!
Spirit of Christmas Present: If it's too hard a lesson for you to learn, then learn this lesson!
[opens his robe, revealing two starving children]
Ebenezer: [shocked] Spirit, are these yours?
Spirit of Christmas Present: They are Man's. This boy is Ignorance, this girl is Want. Beware them both, but most of all, beware this boy!
Ebenezer: But have they no refuge, no resource?
Spirit of Christmas Present: [quoting Scrooge] Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses?

Ebenezer: [singing] I don't know anything, I never did know anything, and now I know that I don't know, all on a Christmas morning. I must stand on my head, I must stand on my head!

Since when do we need an article about Mark Brown's opinion? Who cares. There are a million layers to why we have places like Haven. Those layers are worn by everyone differently based on their political perspecitive. That's not new. It's not news. And we don't need to hear about Mark Brown's own ingnorant interpretation. What's next? An article on my opinion about dredging? Who cares.

I for one applaud someone for finally having the courage to speak the truth about what the Haven is. Do the math 14 months open 46 jobs+24 rehabs+19 homes+13 id's=102 measurable successes. Thats 7 instances of help per month. Lovely but not worth $45,000 per year. Not worth the harrassment from bums on the mall. Not worth the crime.

As far as I know, Mark Brown takes no money from the city for the ice park. Why should Tom Shadyac get money from the city. You live in Malibu and make movies with Jim Carey, pay for your projects yourself. No one asked for the haven, you gave it to us so pay. Panhandling is blight on this community and I am sick of it. The haven is a strain on our police department. Only in Charlottesville would anyone even consider funding this absurdity.

I applaud Mr. Shadyac for his good will and desire to help those less fortunate and down on their luck , but I too believe that this is his project and that he should be the one to fund it or raise the funds to carry it on.

This should not become a taxpayer liability but one that is funded thru voluntary contributions.

Many programs and organizations that benefit the public good are allowed to apply for funding from the city, regardless of who founded them. Why should the Haven be any different?

When Dave Matthews sinks an enormous investment into getting a program started, no one asks him to privately fund it throughout its lifetime. They are typically kept going (and expanding) with a combination of donations, grants and other funding.

We all have to pay for things through taxes etc that we might not personally approve of. I'm fine with helping out the Haven and other social programs with my tax dollars, but have a problem paying for an overly large dam and Parkway, and pretty much anything that benefits wealthy developers. But them's the breaks.

@This comes to mind...., what abunch of maudlin crap.
@Tim Taylor $1054/85 = $12.40

"The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) states the nation’s homeless veterans are predominantly male, with roughly five percent being female. The majority of them are single; come from urban areas; and suffer from mental illness, alcohol and/or substance abuse, or co-occurring disorders. About one-third of the adult homeless population are veterans.

America’s homeless veterans have served in World War II, the Korean War, Cold War, Vietnam War, Grenada, Panama, Lebanon, Afghanistan and Iraq (OEF/OIF), and the military’s anti-drug cultivation efforts in South America. Nearly half of homeless veterans served during the Vietnam era. Two-thirds served our country for at least three years, and one-third were stationed in a war zone.

Roughly 56 percent of all homeless veterans are African American or Hispanic, despite only accounting for 12.8 percent and 15.4 percent of the U.S. population respectively.

About 1.5 million other veterans, meanwhile, are considered at risk of homelessness due to poverty, lack of support networks, and dismal living conditions in overcrowded or substandard housing.

How many homeless veterans are there?

Although flawless counts are impossible to come by – the transient nature of homeless populations presents a major difficulty – VA estimates that 107,000 veterans are homeless on any given night. Over the course of a year, approximately twice that many experience homelessness. Only eight percent of the general population can claim veteran status, but nearly one-fifth of the homeless population are veterans."


Perhaps it would be instructive to look at what other charities/agencies City Council already feels its taxpaying citizens need to contribute to. The Healthy Families and Community section of the adopted city budget includes a $10,123 contribution to Soccer Org., $46,800 to Music Resource Center, and 24,530 to Abundant Life Ministries. While the entire budget ( makes interesting reading, it is also interesting to look at the Contributions to Education and the Arts and Community Events and Festivals sections.

These are all organizations that serve the broader community- not just Charlottesville residents. Are the other counties contributing to this effort as well ?

I believe Norris, Edwards and Szakos will quickly support this allocation. I wonder if they will also support another request from The Hope Center in the 10th & Page area. It also provides daytime activities for the homeless, including job seeking help, furthering education and referrals to agencies for substance abuse issues. It also has about two massive clothing giveawys a year.

city resident, as you well know, Albemarle County contributes quite a bit of money to the city budget every year. So the answer to your question vis a vis Albemarle County is a resounding and undeniable "yes".

Why does it seem like there are so many redundant programs to help the less fortunate find jobs/get clean/etc.? And why do we as taxpayers contribute to so many of them?

I'm really proud of the true compassion shown in this city.
Loving people and taking care of their needs is messy business, yet Charlottesville does it, every day.
I know of a city 10 times our size that is attempting to eradicate homelessness through laws that discourage their presence.
The number of people I've met here that understand the need (and privilege) to reach out is inspiring.
I appreciate the growing pains, trying to figure out the best way to serve the least among us.
Listening to the rants and logic of a strict capitalist, where it concerns the poor, seems counter to the unqualified compassion this city represents.

"...Unconditional love will have the last word, in reality" MLK

I think Mr. Hollywood started this mess, he should also fund this mess. I'm sure the person that gets his coffee makes 45,000.00 yearly. This should not be a tax payer issue. Hey maybe he should hire some haven folks to get his coffee.

Oh I forgot he lives in a trailer. What a martyr. I wonder if its parked behind his mansion. Give ma a break

Oh horsefeathers...its tough living in a trailer in malibu on the beach. Ask Matthew Mccounaghey or Pam Anderson, they live their too, it's rough. I can't afford the $45,000 a year anymore, I live simple now, you understand of course. If you have doubts check out last months vanity fair about my trailer park

I say we collect $45,000 from the taxpayers, use it to charter a plane, and deliver all the Haven's downtrodden to Mr Hollywood so that he can personally know the joy firsthand, each and every day of his life, with a big smile on his face, especially with them camped out in front of his house, voiding anywhere that suits them, and harassing him and his family for money every time he sets foot outside his door.
It's easy to feel like you are a real do-gooder when all you have to do is write a check to some place on the other side of the country, and never have to experience the reality of your charitable contribution.
I'm all for helping people IF they want to help themselves, but all the Haven does is enable dependency and serve as a magnet for more of them. Let's see how the city of Charlottesville likes them 10-15 years from now, when the downtown businesses have all closed because paying customers are afraid to go there. I refuse to go to the downtown mall with my children anymore. Too many creeps lurking and leering at every corner.

"Brown's math is rhetorically amusing, but egregiously inaccurate in a way that makes his conclusions gravely misleading, to a degree that I think warrants clarification by The Hook. Brown is treating each outcome as if it is the sole mission of the organization, ignoring all other outcomes which he also names. This is like asserting that the City of Charlottesville is an economic failure because with a $126M budget, they manage to hire just one city manager, averaging $126M per city manager. The ability to divide two numbers doesn't make the resulting number meaningful."

Could this prose be more purple? Can it be written or recited without wearing a bow tie and neatly parted hair? I think not Spanky, now call Mommy and see if soup is ready.

I don't think Brown's metric points are the complete picture either (the meals, housing, acceptance all matter in the outcomes analysis). But you also would have to include how many destination seekers came from other places, how many panhandlers were added to the mall, how many rude experiences were had on the mall (with people like TwinMom saying "No more thanks", and how much taxpaying business was lost, etc. too. I've been walking downtown since one could drive there, and it's shocking what has happened in just the past couple years. It's not East Hastings but we're not Vancouver either.

Not East Hastings really now is it ?. The did the old urban trick there . I know the area . When it got so bad of a skid row and East Hastings became internationally notorious local city managers simply renamed it . They started calling it Gastown or Downtown Eastside . A new fancy name for the Mall should make it more palitable for the mannered to re_occupy the space .

Mr. Haven,
I will gladly trade you my 744sqf house in Belmont for your trailer, only if I can be Pam Andersons plumber.

I am on the Mall almost everyday, but I do not live there or own a business. Personally I have not encountered any problems the visitors to the Haven are causing. I believe that in the last several years I may have been asked for money twice, and both times in a very kind and low key manner.

I thoroughly enjoy the Mall and hope if those living there or owning a business are bothered by specific individuals, and not the majority, that the police can manage that. Even without the Haven given the huge increase in homelessness we would see a % increase in problems on the Mall.

The city has a commitment to help all it's citizens and one question that might help this debate is what proportion of those helped by the Haven have at some time resided in the city, I realize this may be difficult to quantify, but if we are serving the greater Charlottesville community I'm sure a regional funding plan could be worked out to that end.

It is to all our benefit to house and assist those with no where to live and to attempt to move them into gainful employment and into healthier lives. And our churches and service organizations have done a wonderful job but cannot meet the growing need.

In the present economy all of us are witnessing a this increased need and have to readjust our thinking and come up with solutions to address the change in circumstances created by the lack of jobs and the increase in the expense in health care and housing.

I have updated the story to include a response from Kaki Dimock, Haven executive director. In addition to disputing Mark Brown's statistics, she provides information on the number of Haven patrons who come from the City and surrounding counties and gives an explanation for how the Haven arrived at the $45,000 figure. --Courteney Stuart

i work near the mall - travel it daily - and am asked for money several times every day. it's no longer the charming, safe, diverse, small town place it used to be a few years ago. it's now just like every other big city where I just move through it to get to the other side no longer enjoying the walk like I used to.

Many people who are tired of the undesirable and "foreign" element too often encountered on Charlottesville's downtown skid row, are finding Ruckersville a delightful destination! With the new Wal-Mart, McDonalds and Goodwill stores, Ruckersville has outstripped Cville in the ambience department. Come on up today and enjoy Greene. You won't be sorry.

"It is to all our benefit to house and assist those with no where to live and to attempt to move them into gainful employment and into healthier lives. And our churches and service organizations have done a wonderful job but cannot meet the growing need."

It may be to our benefit, but the question here is whether this particular organization is doing a good job at it, and even if it is, whether it deserves taxpayer funding.

As to the churches, etc, not being able to meet the growing need . . .Of course they can't. When you make a service free to the users, demand becomes infinite.

I made the same point as K Dimock regarding the unmeasurable value of just being there . A cost accounting piece work number can't be placed on that value . You can't put a widget price on hope,counselling,encouragement,advice,understanding and the value of getting a shower ,some soup , and a friendly hello .

"With the new Wal-Mart, McDonalds and Goodwill stores, Ruckersville has outstripped Cville in the ambience department." Geez, I'd rather have wall to wall homeless people than that. Ruckersville used to be kind of charming.

I had a business on the mall. When the Haven opened, i would have people come and beg my customers for money as they we standing @ my shop reeking of urine, and so drunk they could not speak. I decided to call the Haven before calling the police. Well I called the haven at least 4 times over the course of 3 weeks. Kaki never called back, not once. Finally I was able to reach her, and she said she would bring me some "cards" to give to the beggars that would direct them to the Haven, well I never got the cards, and the problem just continued. So maybe the problem is with the management. Maybe the Haven should find another director and take a fresh approach to the situation.


"The problem comes in when we add in the cost of 140 police visits, ER room visits from the people because they are allowed to use drugs and drink and still stay there, lost business on the downtown mall from people who don't want to be harrassed by people who they are paying for their food and shelter for."

All very good points. Tell me, do you do this math as well for the business community to determine the true costs of the rowdy late night music venues, UVA football games, and the party hardy bar scene in Charlottesville? How about Foxfield and that drunk fest?

And I wonder how many times the police were willing to show up at the Haven, but chose to ignore calls for trouble in these other more 'acceptable' Charlottesville activities like screaming and fighting down on Frat row, or at Foxfield?

See, I happen to agree with you about looking into those kinds of costs. What I won't tolerate is the very biased and dual standard way this community looks at those costs.

"These are all organizations that serve the broader community- not just Charlottesville residents. Are the other counties contributing to this effort as well ?"

Of course not. The County gives massive tax breaks to the super wealthy, and then dumps the displaced on everyone else, especially if it can on the City.

Sounds like the Haven needs more money from the public/private sector to fund an outreach program . There are similiar programs operated in the aforementioned East Hastings St. Vancouver . Outreach workers can do many services to take pressure from business operators by redirecting those hanging around . Often times the workers can get them some nutrition,advice,etc to keep them safe and more harmonous the mainstream traffic .

@ horsefeathers, why would you call the executive director of TJACH instead of the police? Do I call John Casteen (or whomever is in charge now) when there are drunk UVA students throwing up in my bar? Can you even be sure they were Haven guests? Call the cops. Maybe that's why you "had" a business, not enough management experience. Next time I have a problem with a panhandler on the Mall will be the first time, I ignore them, they ignore me.

tall&skinny ---I had the same thoughts but for once managed to restrain my fingers . Was also wondering why HF didn't call a taxi and have those poor lost souls taken the rescue facility .Waiting 3 weeks for someone to deliver him a piece of paper with directions on it for a block away is lame in the extreme .Who is he to talk about poor management . It is obvious that horsefeathers couldn't manage a one holed chithouse .

@ tall and skinny, how can we be sure any of this threads are about Haven residents? I guess its just a coincidence all these issues started when the Haven started.

Wow. Mr. Brown is going to reap what he sows, we all will. After witnessing other towns without adequate sanitary facilities for homeless people I'm very happy for the Haven, at least it provides a modicum of personal dignity and hygiene for those are temporarily challenged in that department. In DC the lack of hygienic services for the homeless sometimes creates public health emergencies as the odor of one unkempt human being can quickly clear out an entire metro train car or bus stop shelter. Sad to think that Mr. Brown would rather not provide such services to the travelers in our midst, perhaps it makes him mad to see homeless people who are well groomed and he'd rather that Charlottesville's homeless people stay unemployed and disheveled?

Yep, we had no homeless here before the Haven, close the Haven and the homeless will just go away. I wish I had thought of that.

Its showtime dont you have sound check or something?

"All very good points. Tell me, do you do this math as well for the business community to determine the true costs of the rowdy late night music venues, UVA football games, and the party hardy bar scene in Charlottesville? How about Foxfield and that drunk fest?"

Because UVa football games, concerts, UVa students don't contribute massive amounts of money to the local economy and businesses right? Great comparison there buddy.

What this community needs is a creative approach to the homeless person/wandering psychotic/antisocial alcoholic transient/hobo/bum problem.
A vagrancy law with teeth and an absolute legal ban on public importuning behavior would be a good place to start. Is Charlottesville a better place for having its showcase public space fouled by the presence of these misbegotten souls and would it be nicer if they weren't there? We all know the answer to that and we need public policy that actively encourages these folks to move somewhere else, where shouldn't be our concern.
We should send them all to Maricopa County and let Sheriff Joe re-educate them.

Downtown I'm so use to people talking on cell phones (like blurting out Hi right next to you- and you look and they are on the phone. A guy was apparently asking me for money and my mind was ignoring him. I almost turned around and saying sorry I thought you were on a cell phone.

For the first time I was asked today, somewhat agressively, to give money to a woman who said she hadn't eaten. I told her to go to the Haven or Salvation Army, she told me she didn't "qualify" for services there??? Clearly she had never been to either.

"All very good points. Tell me, do you do this math as well for the business community to determine the true costs of the rowdy late night music venues, UVA football games, and the party hardy bar scene in Charlottesville? How about Foxfield and that drunk fest?"

My understanding is that there is an alcohol tax on every drop sold and consumed in Virginia. My understanding is that busineses collect sales tax, pay property tax and license fees.
My understanding is that foxfield pays for police to be there. (in addition to taxes)

My understanding is also that if the the business on the mall don't sell anything then they can't contribute taxes for the city to give away to people who don't contribute.

The fact of the matter is that if the homeless were benign then people would not be complaining.
The fact of the matter is that the Haven is doing some good things but there is nothing wrong with the taxpayers wanting a discussion about the spending of taxpayer money.

140 visits by police is a lot. Paying for peoples room and board when they have funds for alcohol , cigarettes and drugs is unreasonable and creating an envrionment that attracts other localities prblems to C-ville is untenable and irresponsible.

You may want to tax the rich and pay for these folks but every dollar you spend on them is a dollar that won't go to helping the people who didn't screw up their lives and need a leg up.

The truly downtrodden need our help. The snot nose overgrown juveniles who simply didn't want to make the effort in life and CHOOSE to drink and get high can get their life together as soon as we stop coddling them. The cretins that people on here complaign about are not Veterans. Most of them are simply screw ups without remorse, ambition or any sense of civic responsibilty to not take without giving back.

I don't know whether the Haven deserves the money or not but I don't think allowing people to spend the night drunk and wasted will REDUCE the number of drunk and wasted people around town. It seems to me that policy will attract more.

What will we have to pay next year to deal with them?

I think everyone who assumes the Haven attracted the homeless situation to Charlottesville should take a look at the blog link above written by the Mayor Dave Norris. I am a weekly volunteer at the Haven, something I chose to do after moving from Williamsburg, and not having a clear understanding of what it means to be homeless. I stepped out of my norm to understand a community that was very different from my hometown. I worked at the Nook for a couple of years, well before the Haven opened and I was shocked at the amount of people begging for change, stealing from the servers tables, and stumbling around drunk. My immediate reaction was to judge them and speak lowly about this type of behavior. I called them lazy and ignorant. I had no compassion until I stepped out of my norm and talked to a homeless person. There are distinctions between homeless and crying for help. Not all who come into the Haven really need the help or do they want it but are looking for sense of community. Does this mean the city should fund the Haven because the person beside you wants to belong? No. The city should fund the Haven because it is non-profit organizations aiding a part of society that may be differing in lifestyles from our own. My first day at the Haven was the enlightening and informative. All my misconceptions about the homeless were thrown out the window and I was faced with real life situations. Mark Brown believes that compassion and smiles are not worthy of city money but what he fails to understand is that I didn’t just smile at the guest. I wouldn’t volunteer every week if all I did were smile because I can do that anywhere and perhaps get paid for it. A lot of the people who I have grown to respect at the Haven are not much different from you and I. I have filled out and helped guide guest of the Haven in job applications and assisted in the search for housing. I can’t hold every persons hand that walks through the door and force-feed them resources to a better life and a smile isn’t going to fix the next persons mental instability. As a volunteer, I know it takes more than a smile to fulfill the needs of the people. I can speak for myself when I say sometimes I could benefit from the resources offered at the Haven. Not everyone lives on a cushion with a disposable income. I have participated in various activities at the Haven such as yoga and crocheting. One may ask how is this worthy of city money and I would argue it is activities like these that require no money and are courtesy of the volunteers. Yoga is proven to help with mental stability and is linked to benefiting people who suffer from depression, anxiety, and panic disorder. I’m not a business major and know little to nothing about running a business but I know that the Haven is an avenue to get people off the streets. Furthermore, as a previous employee of the Nook, I saw a few Haven guests come through our doors jobless and walk away as the new dishwasher. I heard about the Haven from the owner Stuart Rifkin who has volunteered in the Haven and reached out by offering his establishment as the starting point to a better life. If the Haven didn’t exists then Mr. Rifkin would never have been able to give a job opportunity to someone less fortunate. Not everyone will walk through the doors and walk away a success but if we reach out to one person who gets a job or housing then it’s one less person begging for change. Mark Brown argues that he offered up his establishment for a fundraiser idea but I have to wonder was he is using this as avenue for free marketing to a place that seemed to have financial problems? I propose Mark Brown spend one day a week in the Haven getting to know the people, the volunteers, the resources, and then present the same argument. Understandably, the community will have concerns concerning the homeless meandering around the Downtown Mall but I can tell you that the homeless were begging and being inappropriate on the mall long before the Haven opened their doors. Also, the argument stands that the Haven allows the guest to be drunk or high in our establishment lets not forget that many of the restaurants on the Mall have a full bar and are utilized by many people who would never step foot in the Haven. I can personally tell you as a previous server on the Mall that many classes of people have purchased alcohol in restaurants and watched them walk away buzzed or drunk. Mark Brown seems eager to make a judgment call on homeless people being drunk’s all-the-while eliminating any part of the upper class partaking in the same activities as a guest of the homeless.

@ Michelle
I think a number of things and one being that this blog must be a waste of time at this point considering no one has commented since your post but let me assist you and your mindset-

talk to the mayor and get his current opinion. in 2007 when he wrote that post, the Haven's doors weren't open. talk to the police on the downtown mall who seem to id 90% of your breakfast guest and know where they're coming from. Hell, you're the volunteer, you should know that they are no longer local.

Now making an argument about our townsfolk who are patrons of our bars and tipping you so you can volunteer might just be the slightest bit of ignorance. You also might want to talk to your former boss and Mark Brown and get enlightened a little further on their opinions, while you're at it, you should talk to some of the Haven's former paid employees and get their thoughts on their hearts coming in and then why they're no longer there.

No one is arguing that we need to help the rightfully homeless we are just arguing that we shouldn't be helping the drifters that ride in on trains and buses to take advantage of this new open door policy that the Haven has and watch them spending the dollars that they beg and annoy for on the alcohol instead of food or a bus ticket out of here.

Here is an example of the greatness of the Haven. There used to be a gentleman that washed dishes at Henry's on the mall, once the Haven opened, he lost his job and has been dining out at the haven for the last two years. I've known him for years, know his ability to work, and know that he just enjoys the free lunch.

This town has had numerous shelters which have never caused concerns- the Salvation Army and HOPE to name a few, why give taxpayers dollars to an organization that arguably just allows a free lunch?

Doesn't the Salvation Army take dollars from the state and the Fed?

The Haven to me is like similar to its neighbor, the Landmark Hotel. A great idea with poor funding, left for the. Lets see how many things we can put on the downtown mall to deter folks from coming and have the city pick up the bill.

Mark Brown still owes my band $501. He should take care of his own monetary issues before he starts in on the monetary issues of others.

Mark Brown still owes my band $501. He should take care of his own monetary issues before he starts in on the monetary issues of others.

Doesn't Mark Brown's "Ultimate Fight Nights" bring big problems downtown? Seems like there is a much bigger danger to the community from drunk and violent people wandering around town than there is from poor and hungry people needing a place to take a shower.
The bottom line is that our society is broken, no amount of moving the haven, building new havens, cracking down on panhandling or allowing it is going to do much unless we change our broken system. Part of that broken system is a rich kid who uses family money to buy an ice park and then pick a fight with people less fortunate than him.


"Now making an argument about our townsfolk who are patrons of our bars and tipping you so you can volunteer might just be the slightest bit of ignorance"

This is not all what was said I in my response. I find it quite judgmental that people assume the people in the Haven are drunks that walk the mall disrupting the local establishments. My point is that I waited on numerous patrons who I have never seen in the Haven and watched them act drunk, disorderly, and disruptive. I don't need to talk to former paid Haven employees to express my opinion and support it how I see fit. I am not a paid employee nor care to be. Are you a volunteer at the Haven? My answer would be no because I am still trying to figure out why you think the guest a rode in on a bus from out of town. I personally administered about 50 surveys recently and more than 3/4 of the people I interviewed grew up here in Charlottesville. Your information seems rather misguided and biased. Interesting story about the worker at Henry's and I can see how that type of behavior can happen on the other hand "dining out" at the Haven would be great except we don't offer lunch or dinner. Again, I question how much you actually know about the Haven. The Haven offers breakfast only. I propose you spend some time evaluating the facts, learning about the cause, and post something that is substantial and accurate.

Deleted by moderator.

Sorry, Charlottesville. I know you want a sanitized city that doesn't offend your customer base, and while that makes perfect business sense, it doesn't make good social sense. Don't like the face of homelessness, substance addiction, mental and emotional handicaps? Please remember our City's recent history. A few decades ago, the City Council approved the demolishing of the Vinegar Hill neighborhood, a basically black neighborhood of ok homes, and admittedly not without its crime problems. Due to its proximity to the newly-designed and about-to-be restored Downtown Mall, the "City" (we mustn't cast dispersions on the actual people who made these decisions) wanted to get rid of the "black" element that populated the street corners of the commercial district. So they broke up a black neighborhood so they could build office buildings and condominiums for white people with means. A little policing action and the downtown was sanitized of all the black faces that would hang out on the street corners and sidewalks. Families and networks of extended families were separated and repatriated at low-cost apartments at Garret Square and other specially designated areas. Notice that when white people hang out it's called relaxing, hanging out, enjoying the Mall; when blacks do it it's loitering, and when our homeless/handicapped/emotionally challenged folks do it''s...well, downright criminal. They're chasing our business away!!

Quit complaining and figure something else out. You're smart, and you have some money. There's only 85 (average) homeless per day polluting your streets. Perhaps you could take up a collection and "pay" them to "disappear". Or maybe you could just accept them as they are, show them some friendship and kindness, and help The Haven to re-socialize those who can be, and feed and cleanse those who can't. Perhaps each business could "adopt" one of our perennial residents (the transients come and go) and help them financially and through other means. If you need to "distance: yourself from actually having to interact with a real live homeless person, then do it through The Haven. Just an idea. We MUST collectively be smarter than the problem of 85 homeless people.

Courteney Stuart should look into how Mark Brown made a decision to take money from his hockey playing customers by cancelling the season when his refrigeration system failed and the ice melted! Then he offers a "credit" for about half the value of the remaining games plus "credit" towards a non-hockey sport for the opportunity to run around inside during nice weather outside. "Credit" equates to the privilege of paying him more money for future sport leagues, even if you don’t participate! Maybe he should focus on his own business operations and finances before publically scrutinizing another organization.

I hope you get to watch the Canucks win tonight Molly!!!We are thinking of you and sending you all prayers and love. Did you feel them while we were there at BCCH? We were there with Cayden and we were sending out vibes sequin hair accessories