The Haven: Housing2Home: “The Transformations Made in our Clients’ Concepts of Home, Stability and Self”

Art Program name: The Haven: Housing2Home (H2H)

Featured Work 1: Welcome Home Cards for Recently Housed, Previously Homeless H2H Clients

H2H Collage

This beautiful card was designed by artist Lana Lambert (read her 5 Questions interview here). The doors of the home and card open to a warm welcome message signed by The Haven staff.  This card was designed to be given to participants in the H2H program, which aims to help newly housed, previously homeless clients turn their new living spaces into comfortable, personalized homes (read their answers below to learn more about the program). Also, the card rests on a blanket that was hand-knitted for a H2H client by Ena Brondyke.

Featured Works 2: Examples of Artworks and Crafts for the H2H Program

The first image is of a quilt called Paint Chip Quilt that was created by Maggie Stein. The second is a set of skillfully made cutting boards created by craftsman Richard Moon.

5 Questions for the Art Program:

1. What is art to you?

“The artistic intentions of the Housing2Home program are multifaceted. On the surface level, we help our recently housed, previously homeless clients find the stuff they want and need for their homes—everything from furniture and kitchen items to artwork. But the subtler hope is to transform their spaces into true homes, with the goals of comfort, safety, and personality. Art, broadly defined, is a vital part of this transformation. For someone who has experienced chronic homelessness for an extended period—five years, or even ten—the leap from life on the streets to selecting a painting for his or her wall can be an enormous one. But making creative decisions can help one achieve self-mastery, independence and, hopefully, subjective well-being. We deal with “art” of all sorts—from the typical 2-dimensional visual art to more practical, design- and craft-based work. The true artwork of the project, though, is in the transformations made in our clients’ concepts of home, stability and self.”

2. What did you make in the past, and why?

“Housing2Home is a very new project. The grant was awarded in July 2015, and our Creative Coordinator began work in September 2015. As the work is such uncharted territory, we began by introducing a mere ten clients to the program, knowing we had no idea how long the process would take. We’ve been working to build a network of volunteers and businesses, and devising protocols for navigating unforeseen conflicts. Our Creative Coordinator has spent many hours with clients, engaging them with the project’s ideas and honing in on their personal needs and tastes.”

3. What are you making now, and why?

“Some of the current creative projects include the making of a custom-designed bed for a client with space and storage issues; wedding portraiture for two clients who plan to marry in February; handmade cutting boards and rocking chairs by local craftspeople; refinishing and decorating old furniture that has personal value; and several commissioned paintings.”

4. What are your hopes for the future?

“The plan for the program is to eventually serve around sixty clients over an eighteen-month period. In the end, though, the numbers won’t be nearly as important as the impact we hope to make in the lives of our clients. By using creative intervention to change the spaces our clients occupy, and by placing them in a decision-making role in the process, we hope to make real changes in their self-worth and confidence, leading to greater stability and further improvements in other areas of their lives.”

5. Do you want to add anything?

“We are on the lookout for more Housing2Home volunteers, assisting us with painting walls, moving furniture, and other miscellaneous tasks. We’re also seeking more partnerships with local craftspeople and businesses. For anyone interested in getting involved, please email Creative Coordinator Roger Williams at roger@thehaven.org.”

Artist Supplied Background:

The Haven is a day shelter and resource center for the homeless community of Charlottesville, Virginia, that has adopted a Housing First approach to ending homelessness, helping people in need find shelter through government-funded subsidies. The New City Arts Initiative is a collaborative non-profit fostering engagement with the arts in the greater Charlottesville area (New City Arts will also be featured in an upcoming interview on this site). Housing2Home, a joint program between the two organizations, was one of 38 recipients of ArtPlace America’s 2015 National Grants Program. H2H helps re-housed clients transform their spaces into comfortable, individualized, homelike environments through creative interventions and connections with local artists and businesses. An image of The Haven is below.

haven

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5 Questions for the Artist, © Julia Travers

 

 

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