Thanks to the generosity of film director Tom Shadyac, The Haven opened its doors in January 2010.
Tom, a UVA alum, returned to Charlottesville in 2005 to shoot the movie Evan Almighty. While here, Tom and his crew got to know many of the people who were experiencing homelessness in our city. He was struck by the real needs of those in extreme poverty, especially in a place as vibrant and affluent as Charlottesville.
Tom decided he wanted to do something to address and ultimately end homelessness in Charlottesville. After meeting with advocates, officials, and community members, he purchased and renovated the historic First Christian Church on the corner of Market Street and First Street, with 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, then called the First Street Church Project. Janet forged a partnership with the Thomas Jefferson Area Coalition for the Homeless (TJACH), and in 2009, TJACH hired Kaki Dimock as their executive director. Kaki was tasked with opening and operating The Haven, and on January 18, 2010, The Haven opened its doors.
Since then, The Haven has been working to serve guests facing homelessness and address the housing crisis in Charlottesville.
In 2014, The Haven became an independent nonprofit.