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Safe Haven

Safe Haven residents seek other options

By Dan Petrella/CU CitizenAccess — Behind an annex art studio on the University of Illinois campus sits an 8-foot-by-8-foot wooden structure, lying on its back and filled with dead leaves and dirt. Not long ago, some hoped this small, cabin-like shelter would serve as a model for a new way to house some of the area’s homeless.

Dan Petrella/ Former Safe Haven member Valentino Plaza, 55, digs a hole Friday, Oct. 22, as part of a project to solve a flooding problem at Restoration Urban Ministries, 1213 Parkland Court, Champaign, where he now lives. Plaza was working on the project as part of the work hours required of all residents of Restoration's transitional housing program.
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Safe Haven members look to trade work for shelter

CHAMPAIGN — A group of local homeless people will again be seeking shelter.

Abby Harmon, a graduate instructor at the University of Illinois and member of the Safe Haven board of advisers, said a small, “really core” group of Safe Haven members hopes to find property owners and managers who will accept “sweat equity” in trade for shelter beginning next month.

The News-Gazette/ Abby Harmon of Safe Haven talks at the cookout for neighbors and city council members at the Safe Haven tent city in the backyard of the Catholic Worker house in Champaign on Saturday, July 25, 2009.
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Extras: Seeking 'Safe Haven'

The Safe Haven community began late in the spring of 2009 when a small group of homeless people began pitching tents in a backyard near the Catholic Worker House in Champaign.

The organizers were seeking a sense of safety and community in a group, supporters said.

The News-Gazette
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Advocates for homeless push micro-shelters as one solution

CHAMPAIGN -- Although they have a home until May 1, the future of Safe Haven’s residents remains unsettled.

The self-governing group of homeless people, which started as a tent city and is now staying the winter at Restoration Urban Ministries, is still looking for property where it can build a more permanent community and win the government approval needed to do so.

The News-Gazette/ Abby Harmon of Safe Haven talks at the cookout for neighbors and city council members at the Safe Haven tent city in the backyard of the Catholic Worker house in Champaign on Saturday, July 25, 2009.
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Safe Haven community seeks alternative to the elements

CHAMPAIGN --  David Nash knows how dangerous life can be for homeless people living alone on the streets.

While Nash was serving time in state prison for forgery in August 2002, his father was beaten to death by three teenage boys in a grassy area near the Martin Luther King subdivision in Champaign.

The News-Gazette/ David Nash talks about being beaten while living on the streets of Peoria, as he sits on his bed in a room he shares with five other adult men at Restoration Ministries on Tuesday Dec. 15, 2009
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