Jennifer Flood, Director
Jen, who is a native of Henderson County, spent many successful
years in real estate and business development before the collapsing
economy forced her to look in a different direction. After assessing
her skills, she decided to attend A-B Tech to direct her affinity for connecting with people into a career in social work. On her first day on a work study job at a homeless shelter, she found her calling. Assigned to work with a man just out of prison, she learned he had been out of contact with his mother and longed to return to her. Jen called all the typical sources, churches and service organizations, to help him get a bus ticket, without success. Frustrated, she decided to try something outside the box, and contacted a friend with the Christian Bikers, who came through with the necessary funds. Jen says the satisfaction of seeing that man on his way to a new life was so much richer than closing real estate deals that she knew this was what she was meant to do; she told her mother that night, “This was the best day ever!” Jen finished her associate’s degree in social work and is now working on her bachelor’s degree.
Jennifer identifies two critical responsibilities she has to residents. First is to give them a respite from the daily desperation they have faced. She finds enormous satisfaction in seeing a new resident start to relax, and understand that in The Haven they have a home base. “They can use our address as their own. They can use our phone. They can do their laundry. They can take a shower. They can store their belongings instead of carrying everything with them. And they have somebody to come home to who genuinely wants to see them.” They begin to get some structure back in their lives, which was lost with homelessness. Then comes the time to connect them with the services and resources to help them back on the path to self-sufficiency. Identifying, cultivating and enhancing these partnerships is a key responsibility of her position, as Jen sees it.
Emily Lowery, Administrative Assistant
Emily Lowery projects the calm assurance of someone who has dealt with greater adversity than today is likely to bring. She speaks openly about the path that brought her through a period of darkness that included homelessness to a successful career, an invitation to join The Haven board, and now an opportunity to serve on its staff.
She feels called to her new work at The Haven. She is in a position to look any resident in the eye and tell them that she knows from experience they can turn their life around. She says with conviction, “Once you get out in the community and start doing productive things, you meet people and start to develop positive connections, like the volunteers here. I know the value of being a positive influence, and showing people that there’s hope.”