About Us


Thanks to the generosity of Tom Shadyac, The Haven opened its doors in January 2010. Tom, a UVA alum, returned to Charlottesville in 2005-06 to shoot the movie Evan Almighty. While here Tom and his crew got to know many of the folks experiencing homelessness in the area. He was struck by the real needs of those in extreme poverty and homelessness, especially in a city as vibrant and affluent as Charlottesville. He quickly realized he wanted to do something to address, even end, homelessness locally. Meeting with advocates, officials, and community members, he decided to purchase and renovate the historic First Christian Church on the corner of Market Street and First Street for the purpose of transforming it into a low-barrier day shelter and social resource center.

In 2008 Tom hired Janet Matthews to project manage the renovation under the entity: First Street Church Project. Janet also helped forge a partnership with a local organization for the running of The Haven—that organization was the Thomas Jefferson Area Coalition for the Homeless (TJACH).

In 2009 TJACH hired Kaki Dimock as their executive director, who was specifically tasked with opening and operating The Haven. On January 18, 2010, The Haven opened its doors and has been meeting the basic needs and addressing the housing crises of area homeless ever since.

In 2014, The Haven separated from TJACH to became an independent non-profit.


Related articles

The Hook: Director to buy church for shelter

The Daily Progress: Film director helps launch his vision for sanctuary

The Daily Progress: 19th-century city church reborn as a house-like Haven

NBC 29: Shelter to Open Soon

C-Ville Weekly: The Haven 2.0



Tamika Allen


Brenda Brown Grooms



Tommy Everett

Board Treasurer, Hampton & Everett, P.C.


La'Tisha Jackson

Great Expectations Advisor, PVCC Admissions & Advising Center



Steve McNerney

Board Chair, PVCC Assistant Professor of Physical Education and Director of Student Activities (Retired)

Longtime resident of Charlottesville, Steve writes, "I have been fortunate to experience small portions of life outside of Charlottesville, including brief stints in Nicaragua, New Orleans, Africa and Appalachia. So, it is a pleasure to be affiliated with an organization like The Haven which is addressing poverty locally."



Chris Poe

Wealth Management Advisor, Northwestern Mutual.

Chris is a 24 year resident of Charlottesville with his wife Dianna, and three children. Chris is co-founder and board chair of the I Have a Dream Foundation of Charlottesville, in addition to being a CASA volunteer.


 Stu Rifkin

Board Member, Commercial Realtor

A twenty-five year resident of Charlottesville-Albemarle, Stu supports the The Haven staff as they continue their work to eliminate homelessness in our community.



 Marilu Thomas

Board Vice Chair, Associate Rector for Mission and Service at Christ Episcopal Church

Recently transplanted from Minneapolis but with strong family roots in Charlottesville, Marilu is a social worker and minister with experience as an Executive Director of an affordable housing and economic development non-profit. Marilu’s particular passion is meeting guests where they are, while engaging them in projecting a positive future based in reality. She hopes to primarily be a supporter of the mission of The Haven and to encourage the staff and board in their meaningful work.



Garrett Trent

Associate Director of Volunteer Engagement, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville

Garrett has lived in Charlottesville since 2006, beginning as an undergraduate at the University of Virginia. He has worked as an intern at homeless day shelters at the Urban Ministry Center (Charlotte, NC) and Hope Community Center (Charlottesville, VA). He began working for Habitat for Humanity in 2014 where he continues to discover the importance and impact of safe and affordable housing. 


Haven Staff


Diana Boeke
Community Engagement
Diana@thehaven.org, 434-973-1234 ext. 118



Owen Brennan:
Operations Director
Owen@thehaven.org, 434-973-1234 ext. 116



Nancy Carpenter
Housing Stabilization Case Manager/Homeless Prevention Coordinator
Nancy@thehaven.org, 434-973-1234 ext. 115



Herb Dickerson
Outreach Coordinator
Herb@thehaven.org, 434-218-9820



Caleb Fox
Housing Programs Coordinator
Caleb@thehaven.org, 434-973-1234 ext. 106



Shayla Givens
Intake and Pathways Fund Coordinator
Shayla@thehaven.org, 434-973-1234 ext. 102



Stephen Hitchcock
Executive Director
Stephen@thehaven.org, 434-973-1234 ext. 109


Eleis Lester
Development and Grants


Lindsey Leahy
Creative Coordinator, Housing2Home
Lindsey@newcityartsinitiative.com, 434-202-5277 ext. 3



Kevin Mellette
Facilities Manager/Shift Supervisor


David Slezak
Kitchen Manager


Evie Safran
Co-Kitchen Manager


Mychal Tamillow
Veterans Case Manager (Supportive Services for Veteran Families)
mychal@thehaven.org, 434-973-1234 ext. 111


Rob White
Day Shelter Supervisor



Samantha Wood
Senior Housing Stabilization Case Manager
Samantha@thehaven.org, 434-973-1234 ext. 108



Thomas Jefferson Area Coalition for the Homeless (TJACH)

Anthony Haro
Executive Director
ExecutiveDirector@tjach.org, 434-973-1234 ext.120



Jason Whitehead
Executive Director
Jayson@pacemshelter.org, 434-973-1234 ext. 121

Adriana Nicholson
Program Director
Adriana@pacemshelter.org, 434-973-1234 ext. 119

Liz Nyberg
Case Manager Advocate
434-973-1234 ext. 119