Time for us to help the Haven

Several years ago, a homeless man died one night from the freezing cold. This mobilized local churches to form a cooperative organization called P.A.C.E.M. On a rotating basis, many churches would provide a substantial supper and a place to sleep in the winter months.

An admirable effort, but still there were many months when when there was but one place to find shelter from the heat or cold during the day: the public library. Uncomfortable for the homeless, intimidating to some patrons, and stressful for the staff.

A movement began to find a place for the homeless in the daytime. It was a bumpy road, but it resulted, through the magnificent altruism of movie director Tom Shadyac, in the Haven, a converted church downtown.

In a recent issue of the Hook [March 24: "Funding fight: Brown, Shadyac spar over Haven"], a self-appointed opponent of the Haven, Mark Brown of the Main Street Arena, attacked it on the basis of rehabilitation and employment statistics. Being a businessman, he used expenditures versus how many people moved on and got jobs.

It was a skewed approach which I hope that most people did not buy. It seemed completely oblivious to the altruistic purpose of this facility. Maybe the Haven should record how many showers were taken, how many thousands of hours of discomfort were avoided.

In the face of such vengeful criticism, it should be an added incentive for the people to financially support this admirable organization which daily serves over 80 people and is such a wonderful reflection of what Charlottesville is about.

It has come time for Tom Shadyac to step back and for us to come forward. Please contact Kaki Dimock, executive director, The Haven, 201 East Market Street, Charlottesville, VA, 22902. 434-973-1234

Jim Barns