Sometimes, the best way to help somebody is to teach them how to help themselves. This is very same philosophy that drives the mission of Haven House, a faith-based homeless shelter based in Olathe.
Haven House provides transitional housing and counseling support for the transient and homeless. The organization specializes specifically in serving transient families and youth. Haven House not only serves Montrose County, but also serves as an alternative resource for struggling individuals in surrounding communities.
“We came together as an organization about six years ago with the mission of doing something for the homeless in southwest Colorado—that’s what brought us together,” Larry Fredericksen, founder of Haven House.
“It evolved quickly into a determination that we wanted to become a transitional housing program focused on families, which we determined to be the most vulnerable segment of the population,” he continues.
During their first year of planning, the Haven House team discovered that over 200 children in Montrose County reported being homeless, which is a significant figure for a community of its size.
With the rise of economic hardships, Haven House’s services become more prevalent and vital to those who found themselves on the fringes of the economy. As a result, the organization outgrew its original space. Haven House needed to secure a new space to facilitate its programs and services.
Their needs translated into a vision of providing transitional housing for the individuals and families served by Haven House.
“The Enterprise Zone program came along at the right time for us because we were needing a permanent home… and to fund our operations and capital program, we needed some help. The Enterprise Zone was perfect for that purpose.” ~ Larry Fredericksen, Haven House founder
“Our goals for them are to get them back into permanent housing and on a path to self-sufficiency,” states Larry Fredericksen, founder of Haven House.
Like any expansion/relocation plan, a significant amount of money was needed to make it come to fruition. As a humble nonprofit organization, Haven House was not in the financial position to make this happen on their own.
Enter Region 10 and its Enterprise Zone Contribution Tax Credit program. Supported by statewide economic development efforts, this program incentivizes donors to contribute to pre-approved nonprofit organizations by providing sizable tax credits. Cash donations made to approved EZ projects qualify for a 25 percent state tax credit ($100,000 is the maximum amount). In-kind donations (e.g. labor, materials, equipment, etc.) can receive a 12.5 percent credit. When tax season rolls around, these credits quickly add up to significant savings. In addition, these designated nonprofits are better equipped to carry out their missions with extra donations.
To become an approved project, nonprofit organizations must demonstrate a positive impact on economic development. Haven House provides “soft skills” training for its residents: teaching programs how to build their resume, behave in a professional setting, arrive better prepared for the workforce, etc. Furthermore, inspiring residents to become more self-sufficient alleviates the societal burden of supporting those who might otherwise utilize the public dole for their main source of income.
Fredericksen and Haven House linked up with EZ because of an existing relationship: Michelle Haynes, Executive Director of Region 10, originally was a volunteer for the faith-based homeless shelter. After participating in the EZ contribution program, Haven House witnessed an unprecedented increase in charitable donations to their program.
“The Enterprise Zone program came along at the right time for us because we were needing a permanent home… and to fund our operations and capital program, we needed some help,” Fredericksen adds. “The Enterprise Zone was perfect for that purpose.”
As a result of participating in EZ, Haven House secured the necessary funds to purchase a new 13,000 square foot facility.
The result: The ability to better serve more struggling families. Haven House currently serves on average 12,000-14,000 shelter nights per year—a definite increase in service in comparison to their first year of operations. (A shelter night equals one person per one night during an overnight stay.) Haven House is currently serving 45 individuals living in their transitional housing.
To celebrate five years of significant accomplishments and growth, Haven House is hosting a birthday party, open house, and spaghetti dinner. Haven House will be talking about its programming, honoring volunteers and participants, and working to potentially recruit more. The event is scheduled for Friday, May 6th from 4:00 to 7:00 pm (dinner served at 5:00 pm) at their new location at 4806 N. River Road in Olathe. For more information on Haven House or the event, please call 970.323.5280.
To learn more about the Enterprise Zone’s Contribution Program, please contact Region 10 at 970.249.2436 or firstname.lastname@example.org.