Safe and Helping Hands

Josh, a guest staying in the Hixon House Adult Shelter, says the best thing about the Haven is the people who work here. What means the most to Josh is the way staff show they care through small actions. “When I work late, Amadee, one of the shelter staff members, saves my dinner for me. I take the plate out when I get home and I’m always happy to peel back that foil and see what is in there.”

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Josh knows it might seem strange that he calls the shelter “home” but that is very much how he feels. He was initially fearful to come to the Haven and didn’t know what to expect. He had heard Haven ads on the radio and says, “They were always very heartfelt.” Now, he’s comfortable and has built relationships with staff and other guests. He can count on some joking around with Michael and a chat with Pam, two other shelter staff members. These moments are particularly poignant for someone like Josh, who has struggled with addiction and had isolated himself, lost relationships, and experienced mostly negative interactions with others for much of his adult life.

Josh admits that his journey, even since coming to the Haven, has been bumpy. When he failed to come back to Hixon House one night, his service coordinator Caroline Swaney called to check in. “You don’t know what a godsend it was to hear her voice. It felt so good to get that phone call, to know that someone cared.” Soon Josh had returned to the shelter and was back on track, taking positive steps toward his future. “Caroline has taught me to take one step at a time and not to get overwhelmed with too much at once. My first priority was getting a full-time job and a steady income, which I’ve done, so I can build savings. Next, I’ll work on getting my own place. It feels good to be making good choices. I spent a long time lying and being a disappointment to others. Now I’m being as truthful and transparent as possible. I’m asking for help when I need it. I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished so far.”

Josh will be looking for a pet-friendly apartment so he can be reunited with his best friend, his yellow lab Cooper. Cooper is staying with friends temporarily and the time apart has been hard for Josh. “I can’t wait to get my dog back. I miss him so much.”


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