Severe lack of concern for the health, safety and freedom from religious practices.
The management does not have a fixed set of rules for the clients using the shelter, the volunteers or the paid staff.
Discipling clients, which is definitely necessary, is only carried out by throwing clients back into homelessness for varying amounts of time.

Security

There is not a single trained person to perform any kind of security. The staff, volunteers and clients need to be protected from both verbal and physical attacks. A single authority figure should be dealing with any of these kind of issues. Calling the Sheriff's Department for help in a true life threatening emergency puts a significant wait time for their arrival and requires someone to unlock an entry door to let them in. The staff can deal with proper discipline afterwards when the emotional shock has dissipated and heads can make clear decisions.


Clients personal weapons are somewhat regulated in voluntary submission for lock-up during their stay.


Clients who are lightly under the influence of legal drugs such as marijuana, alcohol and prescription medications.


All of these three items are complicated, difficult and require good judgement with planning. Please look on the page for Fixes for the Haven Shelter. We welcome any and all suggestions on these problems. It is doubtful that any one method will be completely correct.



Health Violations

The health situation, as things are currently being neglected, either has resulted in the transmission of possibly life threatening diseases or will in the future. The staff has repeatedly refused to address any of these problems despite multiple requests from clients of the shelter.

Examples include:

Safety

A wide variety of dangers, at the facility, most of which can be quickly and easily fixed by the staff, are present.



A different set of both dangers and personal humiliations are at the two sign-in locations. All of the many attempts by the clients to rectify these problems have not only been rejected, but have been declared to result in up to a permanent ban from the Haven shelter.

Violations of our constitutionally guaranteed freedoms of religious choices.
At the founding of our nation, many came to North America fleeing religious persecution. Each of the colonies often chose to have different Christian faiths. Once our nation was free from Great Britain, these new states greatly feared being forced to adopt new religions or barred from having their existing and chosen religions. For this reason, they demanded that these tyrannical practices be forbidden by our constitution.

Upon entering the Haven for the first night, new clients are informed that despite using church properties, the Haven was in no manner about religion and that if any of the staff or volunteers bring up religion, that should be reported. Church spaces are rented, thus during the actual usage, those locations then become Haven space until all vacate the area in the morning. This may also be a legal requirement if the Whidbey Homeless Coalition is using Federal funds and/or grants to help pay for the Haven shelter.

Please note well: We do not have ANY DISAGREEMENT whatsoever in having a Christian shelter.
It is the lack of choice whether a client wishes to stay in a religious versus non-religious shelter that is the only issue here. As adults, clients have the rights to make any choice they wish. There is no obligation to stay in any shelter that does not meet the client's needs and desires.

Volunteer Training and Safety

Each of us tends to associate with certain groups in society for a wide variety of reasons. Therefore, we have certain expectations of how others choose to speak, which words are popular, methods of dressing and composure, political and religious choices; including disagreements. Those who become homeless come from all sections of society. Those of great wealth and power do indeed fall into homelessness too. Thus, it is essential to prepare volunteers to expect to see people with very different mannerisms than they are accustomed to. They need to understand this beforehand or they may become frightened or offended by different types of people. Conversations may range from science and computer programming to sexual and drug habits. It is all both normal and to be expected. Volunteers may also be present when verbal or the worst case when physical attacks are either threatened or carried out. The lack of any onsite security makes this even more terrifying. These negative experiences will naturally be told to whatever group or friends the volunteers associate with. This eliminates many potential volunteers from offering their help. Volunteering is difficult, but it is more often than not a very satisfying and enriching experience for both the volunteers and the clients. Some simple steps need to be taken beforehand.

Censure, Discipline and Banning of Clients

Homelessness, fleeing from violence threatened or done, and domestic violence or verbal abuse are extremely difficult situations to find oneself in. There is usually anger, depression and/or a sense of hopelessness to achieve an acceptable outcome in the future. The clients at the Haven truly need the Haven to help install hope, develop plans to rise upwards and a need to find work and a home, whether that be even just rented space in a living room or garage, a room outside or an apartment. There is a terrible problem for clients being able to have clean clothes and a daily shower. Bus, laundry services and shower passes come at very difficult hours and make it extraordinarily difficult to achieve all three in one day. The Haven does not supply laundry or shower passes, but these are readily available at the Spin Cafe.
All of these difficulties, including bad weather and loitering harassment make it hard for even the strongest of personalities to endure without causing psychological problems.

The one and only form of discipline is being thrown back out on the street. This is a brutal treatment of people already suffering from the above problems in just keeping themselves from having a nervous breakdown or losing control on the streets and committing crimes out of sheer frustration. It also pushes non-drug users into using alcohol and marijuana to just endure. Also, some may turn to using hard drugs when their only shelter becomes going to homeless camps formed illegally out in the woods.

Many clients have severe handicaps such as barely being able to walk or sick with heart or other organ failures. Many are elderly and cannot even reach illegal camps or have firm ethics that they will not break. Where can they go?

There is a vast group of methods of discipling clients that can both better the client and/or other clients staying at the Haven. There are many voluntary tasks that can be used outside of the Haven that both gives the clients useful tasks to work on that makes the Haven a place that helps to better clients lives and gives the Haven a positive reputation on the Island. Banning clients is not a bad thing for serious offenses, but it should be used reluctantly.





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