Dear Friends of Safe Harbor:
For our 2021 Holiday letter, we asked one of our most committed volunteers and supporters, Ms. Michele Howard, to share why her family supports Safe Harbor of Chester County and its mission to help the homeless.
Homeless adult men and women are one of the most underserved populations in our area. I don’t understand that why, in a county as wealthy as Chester County, why we have any men and women sleeping on our streets. It is unacceptable. Please keep in mind that each homeless person you see on the street is someone’s child, mother, father, or grandparent. As a volunteer, I’ve had the opportunity to meet and interact with men and women, both young and old. I have met a homeless 83-year-old grandma and homeless Vietnam veterans. I have met young men and women with serious mental illnesses, along with musicians and artists too. One must just take the time to listen to their stories to know that change needs to happen and we as their neighbors, can help.
I became involved at Safe Harbor after working with homeless men in Center City Philadelphia for eight years. From this connection, I was asked to be on the Chester County Single Homeless Women’s Task Force in 2007. The Task Force was one of the best experiences I have ever had. It was made up of Safe Harbor Staff, Board members, and members of local faith communities, all working tirelessly and amiably toward the goal of providing more beds for Chester County’s single adult homeless women. Because of this initiative, Safe Harbor built a second floor and increased its capacity for single homeless women by 80% and remains the only single women’s shelter in Chester County.
From there, I joined the Safe Harbor Board of Directors and became even more impressed with the level of commitment to ending homelessness., not only of the staff of Safe Harbor but of the entire West Chester community. After finishing my board term, I became a volunteer and began to work directly with the shelter guests. Until the pandemic, I volunteered twice a month in the shelter and held regular BINGO nights intending to create fellowship and joy for the residents.
Safe Harbor is very aptly named. Daily, the staff works to provide resources to both men and women to help them be the best they can be in whatever circumstances they find themselves. It truly is a “safe harbor” to many homeless people. Denny, my husband, and I wholeheartedly support Safe Harbor and its mission. I encourage all of you to learn more about Safe Harbor by watching this video on their YouTube page, then consider getting involved and supporting Safe Harbor of Chester County in any way you can.
Thank you for your kind consideration and support during the holiday season.