Sharing Our Families’ Stories: Update on Lawanda, Homeowner

On April 15, 2012, Safe Haven staff attended the dedication of Lawanda’s Habitat for Humanity home.  To see what all went into everything for Lawanda to get to this point, please make sure you read the first blog post about her family. I had the privilege of speaking at her dedication ceremony and just wanted to share what I said to her and all her supporters that day.



“I am very excited and thankful that we are all here to celebrate Lawanda and her accomplishments today.  Although Lawanda is our focus today, so many people, companies and agencies have come together to offer support, education, housing, physical and emotional needs and more to get her to this day.  Some of those include Safe Haven Family Shelter, New Level Community Development Corporation, Habitat for Humanity, Ceva, her family, volunteers and more.  As the Program Director at Safe Haven, I never dreamed that we would be standing here today.  Lawanda called me in November 2009, as she was being evicted from her home.  I was impressed that despite her circumstances, she was able to keep her job.  I wanted to get her into shelter before life got so chaotic that she lost her job.  From our emergency shelter, she took part in transitional housing for over 2 years.  We thank HUD for funding this program that allowed Lawanda time to pay off her debts and get connected with New Level and Habitat.  Such an accomplishment to go from homeless to homeowner!  Lawanda is truly an amazing mother and woman.  She has worked tirelessly to just make day-to -day events happen, sometimes even getting up at 3am to get the kids situated and off to work on time.  She’s had more than her fair share of bumps in the road, but has always come out on top.  Her quiet confidence has built over time, and she will most definitely be a role model for others in all of our programs.  I want to read this poem as a blessing for her new home…”


Fill this house with abundance.

None like it has ever known.

Fill this house with peace and joy.

And let those within it,

Witness this shown.

Fill this house with a wealth of health,

With a giving of opportunities to dismiss all pain.

Fill this house with the light of light.

And keep the darkness outside to remain.

~Lawrence S. Pertillar

Lawanda, I want you to remember that you did not get here by yourself.  Just because you will be graduating in the next few weeks from many of these programs, you are not alone.  Our doors are always open, and you are a part of each of our families.  I’m so proud of you.”







Jennifer Reason, LBSW is the Program Director at Safe Haven Family Shelter.


  1. Proud of Lawanda, but also proud of Jennifer! Thanks for the work you – always professional but also from the heart!

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