Looking Back and Moving Forward

Looking Back and Moving Forward

A typical Rose Haven January is spent collecting our year-end data to summarize the work we accomplished over the previous year together. The numbers are never reflective of the impact we’ve truly made….this is especially so in 2020. While our service statistics are phenomenal, they are a small part of the story. They don’t tell us how many lives we’ve saved by providing essential supplies to the chronically homeless who have not been indoors anywhere in nearly a year. They don’t enumerate how many people we educated about the pandemic and the importance of wearing masks, washing hands, seeking medical attention, and knowing protocols during this new and scary epidemic. They don’t indicate how many phones we charged, people we gave voter ballots to, or stimulus checks distributed through our mail program. Nor do they don’t quantify the guests we have laughed with, those we have shed tears beside, or the souls we nourished over the course of our work in 2020. They are countless.

The last year was one of dizzying pivots. Adjusting our service model to accommodate new COVID-19 safety protocols, raging wildfires, social unrest, and ever-changing weather conditions was a daily practice. Everyone was so brave and creative and dogged in their pursuit of helping. Without question, our bold staff continued to show up at Rose Haven every day, setting aside personal fears and prioritizing service to others. Their work was supplemented by a small core group of volunteers who arrived during uncertain times and changing circumstances to help on-site with direct services. Many volunteers picked up take-home projects, while others collected needed items. Amazon packages arrived by the dozens each day! Our 575 volunteers found avenues to support our guests. And, thousands of donors, some long-time friends and others brand new, shared their financial resources and stimulus checks with us!

Genuine love and support were abundant in 2020, helping us navigate these rough waters alongside 2,500 Rose Haven guests. 

And during all this, we somehow managed to tackle some immense agency priorities. Bracing ourselves for the inevitable reality that more women and families will need our help over the coming years, our Board of Directors focused on the future of Rose Haven. We updated our Mission and Values to reflect our guiding principles and essential work more accurately. To better clarify our governance, we established new bylaws.

Strategic Priorities were defined to direct our agency efforts over the next three years:

• Build diversity, equity, and inclusion best practices into all aspects of our work

• Secure new service space that advances our ability to deliver our mission

• Build meaningful, inclusive, sustainable, and consistent programs

• Ensure our human resources model promotes a positive and sustainable employee, volunteer, and board experience

• Raise sufficient funds to execute our strategic priorities


Big things are on the horizon, and we are preparing. Our staff is getting their 2nd round of vaccinations next week, and optimism is our mantra for 2021. Thank you for being with us on this unique and unpredictable journey. Our work is far from done, but together we are making a marked difference in women and children’s lives in our community.


Katie O’Brien
Executive Director