Posted by William Reilly on Nov 20, 2023
Tracey Scherrer Friedman, Executive Director of The Haven Project, along with her colleagues Jamie Ayer and Angelica Perez Baez, presented on November 16 to Lynn Rotary information concerning their nonprofit and what they do to help homeless young people in Lynn.

Tracey explained that The Haven Project was the first organization north of Boston dedicated specifically to providing age-appropriate services to a growing, vulnerable 17 to 24 year old homeless young adult population. Since 2011, they have been implementing their mission through six essential focus areas: basic needs, employment, housing, education, health, and community engagement.
They help all clients develop a viable list of temporary housing options, find a safe room rental, and develop the financial capacity to rent. If necessary, they are placed in emergency shelter beds that are available through partner agencies. The Haven Project also provides meals, unrestricted access to a food pantry, gift cards, ID’s, clothing, backpacks, hygiene items, TracFones, on-site showers and laundry facilities, emergency funds, and other basic needs items for its young clients.
The Haven Project is in the developmental stages of their largest undertaking yet, Catalyst Housing, which will expand the housing options for homeless and extremely low-income young adults north of Boston. Catalyst will offer 23 studio apartments for extremely low-income 18 to 24 year olds, and a 24th unit will house a live-in Resident Manager. Apartments will be on the 3rd and 4th floor of the historic 57 Munroe Street building. In addition to providing secure and sustainable affordable housing, the ultimate goal is to provide on-site opportunities where residents can achieve their full potential by using the many wrap-around services offered.

As part of Tracey’s presentation, she told Lynn Rotary that on any given night there can be as many as 20 young people in need of housing of any kind, up from 3 or 4. And many students here in Lynn often do not have a place to call home. They couch surf or sleep in hidden places on the streets. As of the end of September, the Haven Project found housing for more than 40 homeless youth. The Haven Project accepts donations through their website: WWW.HAVENPROJECT.NET and they can also be supported by visiting their social enterprise café, the Land of a Thousand Hills coffee shop at 61 Munroe Street, Lynn.

To assist in the mission of the Haven Project the members of Rotary brought in many bags of non-perishable food items, such as: Microwavable Mac & Cheese, cans of tuna, instant soup with noodles and many more nutritious items. The food items donated overflowed one of their cars.

In the picture with the donated items are, left to right: Angelica Perez Baez, Director of Client Services; Jamie Ayer, Director of Development; Tracey Scherrer Friedman, Executive Director of The Haven Project; and Jean-Marie Minton, Lynn Rotary President.