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A Little Goes a Long Way

Linda's StoryThanks to your generosity, Haven House continues to provide shelter, support, and hope to local homeless families during these changing times.  

We were reminded of the long-term effects of your help during a recent conversation with Linda Doyle-Bennett.  Linda has been a member of our Board of Directors since last summer.  She stayed at Haven House in 2012 and has been living in the same apartment that she found during her time at Haven House ever since.

Linda is thinking of the families who become homeless during these unprecedented times.  She thinks back to when she lost her house during the summer of 2012.  She found herself homeless with her 25-year-old son, Christopher.  Christopher was severely developmentally delayed and impaired, and Linda was his sole caregiver.  She was “overwhelmed” figuring out where they would live and how they would stay together.  She called shelters throughout the state and thought that her and Chris would have to be separated because of his adult age.  That was just not an option for them.

She remembers being “unsure of what was lying ahead for her.”  After struggling to find shelter for her and Christopher, Linda’s daughter told her about a family homeless shelter, Haven House.  Linda called Haven House.  It was perfect timing!  Haven House had space for her and Chris the very first morning she called!
“I was excited…I found out there was room.  There was hope.”

Linda’s time at Haven House started out chaotic.  She and Christopher had lost public assistance because  she did not have a home address to complete paperwork.  Haven House staff helped her to re-apply for assistance so that she could start her housing search.While meteorologists were  in awe of the high temperatures that summer, Linda rolled Christopher in his wheelchair throughout Lansing each day seeking housing.  She was having a hard time finding somewhere affordable to live. 

Linda was also having a hard time adjusting to a new schedule at the shelter.  Typically, she would crochet when she was feeling stressed, but she didn’t bring any yarn with her to Haven House and could not afford to buy any.  One of her friends suggested she start using plastic bags.  So, she asked staff, residents, and anyone she could think of to collect bags.  She cut the bags into strips and crocheted a purse for her daughter, which helped her to relax.

Just as she approached her thirtieth day at Haven House, Linda received good news.  Deerpath Apartments down the street from Haven House had an opening for a family.  After weeks of looking for housing, she applied to Deerpath and was accepted.  She had a home of her own!

She remembers walking into her new place and thinking, “I can fix up my own place now.”  As we were talking to Linda a few days ago, she was sitting on the front porch of her home—the same home she moved into from Haven House eight years ago.

She settled into her new home during that first year, and when the hot summer rolled around again she got thinking about Haven House residents.  On the Fourth of July she brought tea and popsicles to residents.  She remembers wanting iced tea to cool off when she was at Haven House, and she loved when she was able to have it.

Linda has stayed involved with Haven House ever since that Fourth of July.  As a “helper” herself, seeking help at Haven House was hard for Linda.  She is determined to give back as much and as often as she can.  She currently serves on our Board of Directors and is a member of the fundraising committee.  You may even see her crocheting with friends around town in her free time!
Linda is thankful to be able to continue to support families even during the COVID-19 outbreak.  She wants to tell families seeking assistance from Haven House right now, “You’ll come out alright.  Keep pushing.  You can do it.”

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