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.