H.O.P.E. Haven works with the homeless to help them transition to independent living
Community Impact Newspaper | By Julie Butterfield | February 11, 2017
For 18 years, the founder of H.O.P.E. Haven, Kristyn Stillwell, used to help the homeless by feeding them once a year on Thanksgiving Day with her husband and children, until a pivotal moment in 2009 turned the annual event into a career.
Stillwell’s family had stopped to give food to a homeless person at Hwy. 249 and Spring Cypress Road, but when the man took the dinner, she realized she recognized him.
“He was sitting there two years ago, in the same spot,” Stillwell said. “I flipped out. I started crying.”
Stillwell started a ministry to help the homeless six years ago and in that time helped 70 people get off the streets.
“When we first met with the people on the street, they would ask for shoes and blue jeans, and after a while they started trusting us and asked us to help them reconcile with family and get identification. Once they trust you, they’re willing to let you in and let you help them,” she said.
Stillwell developed her passion into founding the nonprofit organization H.O.P.E. Haven in 2015. H.O.P.E. stands for Helping Others Pursue Excellence.