For Morgan Saldana, the support she received from Haven of Hope after losing a job came at a critical moment in the life of her family.
The resources and guidance provided by staff were critical in helping get back on her feet. Haven of Hope opened its doors in Ennis in 2016 and works to give people a second chance.
The shelter is also now in need of a second chance itself, as the toll of assisting hundreds of women and children a year has started to run its course on the building's infrastructure.
Saldana stated she came to the shelter in March after living out of her car for two months with her children. She explained things were crumbling around her.
“One of my cousins told me about Haven for Hope and said it would be a good place to learn about the word and get closer to God. So I opted to go that route,” Saldana said. “Since then I have built myself up with the help of Kimberly Malone (ministry founder), prayer, and God. Amazingly, things have started to fall into place.”
Saldana explained before coming to the shelter she went from place to place, finding safe spots to park her vehicle for the night.
“I had places were I could bath my children, and they ate every day. We were basically at parks all day. At night we would take a shower, get something to eat, and then just stay in the car,” Saldana remembered. “I didn’t want any problems with CPS or anything like that, so I kept everything as low key as possible.”
Saldana stated when she got to Haven she got plugged into the programs they offered to turn a corner in her life, which has made the difference.
“As a parent, you love your kids so much you can’t quit, and that is not an option,” Saldana said. “So now that everything has fallen into place the most important thing to remember is to keep your faith when you go back out there into the world. You have the job, the car, and the money but it can all go like that.”
Haven works with its clients to connect them with critical resources like food stamps and childcare, career and education assistance, financial guidance, and counseling. Volunteers and professionals work in these programs to share their expertise along with their compassion. Potential clients have to pass a background check and a drug screening.
Haven for Hope founder Kimberly Malone stated the need for this type of service is great and continues to grow daily.
“People don’t see the need for the shelter, and they don’t think that this is going on in Ennis or in Waxahachie,” Malone said. “It is happening in Dallas and Fort Worth, why do you think that they have all of these shelters? They see the need.”
Malone stated during those time a compassionate hand is needed to help a person rebuild — not one that is going to tear them down. Sometimes the smallest gesture, like a hug, can go a long way to show a person that they are loved and valued.
Haven primarily works with women who have been displaced and are victims of domestic violence.
According to the Family and Youth Services Bureau website, in just one day in 2015 more than 31,500 adults and children fleeing domestic violence found refuge in domestic violence or emergency shelter or transitional housing program.
“A job won’t fix a problem, but God will fix the problem. I know that a lot of people don’t like to talk about God. I don’t like to force God on them, but I know God has gotten me through,” Malone said. “It has not been money, it's not been other people, it has been my faith that has kept me strong. Sometimes all a person needs is a hug to be show love.”
Malone stated a simple act of kindness can go a long way in helping a person get back on their feet but showing that they are valued.
The shelter was fully operational housing people until August. Infrastructure problems due to the age of Haven’s building has prevented people from staying at the facility. Financing is being sought to fix some needed plumbing repairs, as well as donors who can support the ministry on a full-time basis.
“The owner of the builder, who runs a ministry, lost some funding and sponsors. At first, I didn’t have to pay anything I was just doing the ministry work,” Malone said. “Then it came to a point where things started getting bad, and he didn’t have the financial support. The plumbing was always bad, but when we got more people in here, it got worse because it was more taxed.”
Malone stated a donor replaced the air conditioning in the building, but the plumbing work and work in the shower needs to be completed before it can reopen. She noted long-term supporters are required to put the shelter on a firm foundation for the future. Haven for Hope is registered 501C3 and all donations are tax deductible.
While the issues with the building are being addressed, Haven is still operating in a limited capacity, working with clients and connecting them with the resources that they need.
Volunteer and supporter Nicole Adams stated the need is great for this type of program, and it continues to grow daily.
“There is such a need for women around here, women and children. When there is no place for them to go and no resources it is hard to have hope,” Adams said. “This is a place that people can come when they are down and out, and you can get back on your feet.”
Adams stated there have been so many success stories from Haven where people have been able to get the help they need and get into a better spot in their lives to take care of themselves.
“The word needs to get out that this place exists,” Adams said. “This should be a great starting place for people in need.”
People who which to assist Haven for Hope can contact Malone at 903-602-0575.