Haven for the Homeless is known for serving food to the homeless but will soon provide mobile showers for them in the Baltimore area.
Fresh Start Mobile Service
It is a new mobile service where, Bria Evans, Haven for the Homeless founder, renovates shuttles buses with private showers. She has three shuttle buses – one for women showers, one for men showers and the third for meal distribution on their Sunday feedings. The shuttle buses came from the Maryland Transportation Authority.
While she has the shuttle busses, she needs assistance and funds to renovate them. It costs about $10,000 each to renovate.
Evans started the nonprofit based on two separate experiences.
The first was a negative experience with the homeless.
She said she and her friends were walking to the subway to go to the movies. In the process, a man asked them for some change. She and her friends put a few dollars together to help him.
When they walked away, a few moments later he started chasing them.
It caught them off guard and scared them.
The second involved a homeless man that always had a good spirit – regardless if she could give him money or not.
She always wanted to give back to the community, but she didn’t know how. She said her second situation made her change her mind about the homeless.
Evans said people are always thinking about the stereotype of homeless people – they are addicted to drugs or using the money for the wrong things. But people don’t know what that homeless individual may be going through.
“I wanted to take the experience I had and turn it into something to make a difference in the community,” she said.
The original goal was to open a shelter. In the process of doing so, she started seeing issues that needed to be handled first — people need food, clothes and counseling services.
While she does not have a physical shelter yet, when it comes to the name of the organization, she wanted a name for the shelter. She already knew she helped the homeless but Googled a synonym for shelter.
She found ‘haven.’ A haven is a safe place, and she knew the shelter she was creating would be a safe environment.
“Haven for the homeless,” she said. “A safe place for the homeless.”
She still wants a building for the shelter, but she wants to interact and distribute food to people and talk to them on the streets.
“Many of them don’t think they’ll get out of this situation and have in their mind they’ll live on the streets,” she said. “I still want to give food out to them even if they don’t want to be in the shelter.”
“I have served both men, women and children,” Evans said. “I serve more adult men and women.”
When she feeds on Sundays, she and her volunteers are walking into the community and interacting with those who need the food. Those in need receive a hot meal, water, juice and a snack.
She typically serves 200-250 people on Sundays.
Since 2018 she has served over 500 people.
However, in a partnership with the D.C. organization, One More Plate, as of November 2020, she has served 4,690 with the monthly events she hosts and those she serves on Sunday.
Because of this partnership, she can reach people in 10 different locations in Baltimore.
The services her program offers are more than food but include counseling services and other community-based resources.
“While out in the community, we hand out our business cards,” she said. “They can give us a call. Based on what services they need we have different outreach members from different organizations that we are connected with. I will give the person with that organization a call and introduce them to the person that needs their services.”
October 3 they are having a “For the Cause Pop-Up Shop.” She said it is a networking event where different vendors meet up, sell different products and services.
Their most recent pop-up shop had a back-to-school theme. Next month’s theme is related to the Fresh Start Mobile Service. They are having a raffle to auction a television.
All funds raised will go towards the Fresh Start Mobile Service.
While Evans turned two separate occasions into a nonprofit that has served the public the last three years, she recently graduated with a food and management certification.
With this, if the chef that normally cooks is not available to come to cook food on a Sunday feeding, she can step in and cook and serve.
To learn more about the organization, visit their website. If you prefer to donate to the nonprofit for their food services on Sundays, donate via Cash App — $haven4thehomeless. If you prefer to donate to their building fund, donate via their GoFundMe.
Caption for Photo:
Bria Evans (on the left), CEO and founder of nonprofit, with her volunteers and partners. Stephon, live benevolent mental health partner; Chardae , volunteer nurse; Shayne , volunteer and owner of Seven Saints Couture; Mr. Phil, volunteer.