Haven-Beat The Streets Inc

Serving The Homeless Of Ocean And Atlantic Counties


clothing donation Clothing

We just received a huge clothing donation. If you are in need of any clothing, please call us at 609-300-5198 and leave a message stating what you need and how to contact you (phone number, email address) and we will get back to you as soon as possible! You can also email us at outreachservices@havenstreets.org

Helping Your Neighbor

… is the mandate of the Gospel. Have you ever thought about this?

  1. The nation of Israel was homeless for 40 years.
  2. Jesus was born into the state of homelessness. His birthplace was a stable.
  3. Throughout Jesus Christ’s Ministry, he remained homeless with no place to lay his head. He relied upon the kindness of others to provide a place to eat and live.
  4. Christ teaches in the Gospel of Matthew that we should invite the homeless into our lives — in order for us to help them with a place to live.
  5. This is not just a suggestion! If you read the text in full it becomes clear that helping others is a mandate in our Christian lives. Without being provided shelter, humanity dies quickly. As the sun bakes, the rain pours and the snow falls, the environment can weaken us until it takes our lives. Everyone needs a place to be sheltered from the elements and the storms of life.
  6. God cares that we have a place to live: “In my father’s house are many dwellings” He plans to take us with Him. He wants us to do the same for others.

Join us in building eternal relationships through Christ!

The Number one Question: How can people help?

One of the best ways to help a homeless person is to show them respect. As you look into their eyes, talk to them with genuine interest, and recognize their value as an individual, you will give them a sense of dignity that they rarely experience.

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Toms River provides municipal building for Code Blue homeless shelter

On the coldest nights last winter Toms River’s homeless could retire to a warming center — a makeshift shelter that rotated between two churches in town, unless it was a Saturday or Sunday when the church space already was booked. Then they were out of luck.

That was a wrinkle in the successful debut season for the Code Blue initiative, which resulted in more than 1,600 “bed nights” — the number of times people sought refuge, some of them on multiple occasions in Toms River and Lakewood.

Now, like Lakewood, Toms River is dedicating municipal space as a permanent Code Blue shelter. The Riverwood Park Rec Building will serve as an overnight warming center whenever the temperature dips below 32 degrees with precipitation or 25 degrees with no precipitation.

“It’s really important that they have a facility that can open any day of the week,” Toms River councilwoman Laurie Huryk said. “And it’s an improvement because the facility is bigger than what they were using before.”

The building, which Huryk said went largely unused in recent years contains two floors. The lower level will be sleeping quarters for as many as 20 people, and the upper level will be space for service providers partnering with HAVEN/Beat the Street, the local nonprofit that supervises the warming center.

“Last year they were able to demonstrate that they redirected people coming in to get out of the cold to rehabs, job interviews, other programs that would help the get re-housed,” Huryk said. “It was a great outcome.”

Paul Hulse, HAVEN/Beat the Street’s outreach director said being open on weekends and using municipal space will enhance that mission. (Atop this story, check out a video from one of last year’s Code Blue nights).

“It gives us more time to get people in and keep them warm, and it gives us more time to work with individuals — to help them,” he said. “And we hope we’ll have more people volunteering now because they won’t feel like it’s just a church thing. It’s a community thing.”

The warming centers are powered by volunteers and goodwill organizations, with an assist from law enforcement officials who spread the word and provide transportation.

“There’s always that concern, that ‘not in my backyard’ thing, but what we found with Code Blue last year, the neighbors not only were not complaining — they were volunteering,” Huryk said. “They were bringing food and showing up, so it was the complete opposite reaction of what you might normally expect.”

Ocean County officials were surprised at how many people sought refuge. The county provided a $10,000 grant last year. Bill Southrey, HAVEN/Beat the Street’s president, said his nonprofit provided the equivalent of $50,000 in services.

“We’re hoping we get some (more) income from the county that will help offset it,” Southrey said. “That would be a great blessing. We had donations to help us and I used my own income.”

Either way, Southrey said, “I’m very grateful to Toms River for this. It’s really wonderful.”

For more information on the Toms River warming center, or to volunteer or donate, visit www.havenstreets.org or email Hulse paul@havenstreets.org.

Staff writer Jerry Carino: jcarino@gannettnj.com.

Local shelters work to keep homeless warm as Code Blue continues

Bill Southrey, President of Haven/Beat the Streets, says his organization has gotten many calls from people seeking shelter. Southrey, who has helped the homeless for nearly four decades, uses his resources to coordinate shelters in Atlantic and Ocean counties.

“We’ll refer them to the shelters and the Rescue Mission, but if people need help, we’ll use funding and put them up in motels in Absecon, Pleasantville and Egg Harbor Township,” said Southrey. “I’m willing to jump in and help any way I can.”


Haven/Beat the Streets is working with two shelters in Ocean County at the First Assembly of God Church in Toms River and the Lakewood Community Center.

“If someone in Atlantic County needed help, we would take them up there,” said Southrey. “My hope is that no one has to go out in the cold again.”

Full article here

On a frigid night, an inside look at how Toms River warming center is helping the homeless

TOMS RIVER – James Havens lives in a tent in the woods. The 39-year-old has been homeless for years. On Thursday, as the snow fell and the temperature plummeted to arctic levels, he did something rare.
He headed for a shelter.
Taking advantage of the new “Code Blue” law, Havens and 14 others spent the night in a warming center at First Assembly of God Church in Toms River.
Did Ocean County’s homeless total plummet? Advocates doubt it

“If this wasn’t here tonight, there would be a lot of people out there freezing, probably wouldn’t wake up in the morning,” Havens said. “On my way here I stopped at a couple of tent sites and they were collapsed.

Spend some time in the makeshift shelter, which consists of 20 cots, a community room with a TV and a buffet provided by donors, and you’ll glimpse how important Code Blue is – and why it’s just one step in the right direction.

‘I wouldn’t have lasted much longer’
Code Blue, signed by Gov. Chris Christie in May, formalizes a procedure for helping people at risk when the temperature dips below 32 degrees with precipitation or 25 degrees with no precipitation. Such conditions trigger the opening of overnight warming centers powered by volunteers and goodwill organizations – not government funding – and an effort by law enforcement officials to get the homeless there.

In Toms River and surrounding towns, police distributed fliers throughout homeless encampments and, in some cases, drove people to the church.

That’s how 29-year-old Stefani Mitchell got there

Mitchell, who had been hooked on heroin and Ecstasy, said her family “put me out” on Jan. 1. Stafford Township police picked her up and brought her to First Assembly of God

“All my bad choices led me to be here,” she said. “My family’s giving me tough love right now. Being scared and being in the cold, it’s rough. I wouldn’t have lasted much longer.”

Alcohol and drugs are forbidden at the warming center, and it’s not a rehab facility. But Paul Hulse, outreach director of the local nonprofit HAVEN/Beat the Street, which supervises the shelter, got Mitchell enrolled in a 15-month residential addiction program on Long Island. She went there Friday.

“I’ve gotten more help here than anywhere else,” said Mitchell, one of three women who stayed overnight Thursday in separate quarters within the church. “I came here and knew nobody, but I’ve been surprisingly comfortable, not nervous. It’s a start for me.”
Showing value
Hulse and Paul Gifford, Assembly of God’s pastor, have been helping the area’s homeless for several years. They jumped at the opportunity to open the warming center. By showing its value for someone like Mitchell, they hope this is a step toward a permanent homeless shelter opening somewhere in Ocean County

“Everything has to move in moderation,” Hulse said. “The key piece is showing not just that we need something, but that there’s a solution behind that need.”

On Thursday, both Gifford and Hulse slept over at the warming center. The atmosphere was low-key but collegial. A handful of residents watched a big-screen TV while others chatted over coffee or tea. Most were asleep by 9 p.m.
Code Blue NJ: Cold and homeless in Monmouth County? You may stay that way.

“So far we’ve had no problems, no issues,” Gifford said. “Our residents have been great. They help clean up in the morning, mop the floors, take out the trash.”

Hulse said the vibe is similar at the Lakewood Community Center, a Code Blue station that housed 32 people Thursday. The initiative shows what’s possible when everyone – politicians, law enforcement and concerned citizens – pulls in the same direction.
“It’s been a great collaboration,” Hulse said. “We’re getting them inside, keeping them warm, keeping them safe and hooking them into resources, which is even better.”
Finding acceptance
Thursday was a breakthrough of sorts for Havens, who left his tent out of necessity but found camaraderie at the warming center. More than a decade of homelessness had left him aloof, distrustful.
“It’s a struggle,” he said. “People look at us as bums or drug addicts. Some look at us, shrug their shoulders and hold on to their purse or wallet tight. I like to keep to myself, but there’s a bunch of good people here.”

As the temperature outside dipped below 10 degrees, with more than a foot of snow surrounding the church, Havens took a long swig of his coffee. He wore a knitted hat indoors, his face weathered from years of living in the elements.
There have been mornings in the woods, he said, when he found bodies of acquaintances who didn’t survive the night.

“It’s horrible out there,” he said. “They’re doing a good thing here. I figured I’d come out here tonight and give it a shot.”
The staff is hoping he sticks around.
“You just want to open up that reservoir of hope inside people,” said Martha Barnhill, a volunteer who spent Thursday night in the women’s quarters. “You want to let them know: They do mean something. They are important.”

A family out of Options!!

This family exhausted their Social Services benefits and had no chance of saving their home without a stable income. Cory Swain lost his job which provided for his family.

The Swain family, who have five children (Tatania 11, Kiana 8, Corey Jr. 6, Jonniana 4 and Gabriana 1) lost their housing rental in Lakewood. After staying in various hotels, they ran out of money and found themselves on the street without their possessions and no place to go. They are temporarily staying in a hotel in Toms River.

Six weeks ago they were living in a three bedroom apartment in Lakewood. Since then, circumstances pushed them over the edge. “They just have the clothing on their backs and their vehicle,” said Bill Southrey of HAVEN/Beat the Street, which is covering the motel bill. This story serves as a frightening reminder that many families are a job loss away from catastrophe. The Swains were struggling stay above water before the bottom dropped out. Corey Swain 38, is a Lakewood native and a former Army reservist who has worked in various automotive jobs. Dawn Swain 34, was a waitress who became a stay at home mom to care for her  children. They had fallen behind on the rent and utilities and when Corey Sr. lost his job. They were evicted and according to Dawn and corroborated by Southrey, their possessions were discarded by the landlord. “It was just about everything we owned”, Dawn said. “The kids have no toys and
they don’t even have any jackets or clothing for the fall”, Dawn said.  “I want my kids to be able to go to school and have school clothes and not be embarrassed about their parents or everything we’ve been through”,  Dawn said as tears spilled down her cheeks.

Dawn said her kids don’t complain or ask for much with one exception,
“They ask, ‘Can we have dinner every night at a table?’”, Dawn said.
These kids are young  but they know their family is in trouble.
“I tell them it’s going to be OK”, Dawn said, her voice cracking.
To help the Swains and other families in the same situation, please donate to HAVEN/Beat the Street.

Absecon Republican Club names Bill Southrey as Citizen of the Year


ABSECON – A man who spent the past four decades by seemingly giving all he had to those with nothing to offer in return has been named this year’s recipient of the Absecon Republican Club’s Citizen of the Year.

Former Atlantic City Rescue Mission CEO Bill Southrey will be honored as the 2015 Citizen of the Year during a dinner and celebration in his honor 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 26 at the Inn of Smithville.

The reward has been given annually to an Absecon resident, regardless of party affiliation, who has given tirelessly to others without the thought of personal gain. Previous Citizen of the Year award winners choose each future winner.

Southrey has spent most of his lifetime providing for others, especially the homeless of Atlantic County. Even back in the 1970s, Southrey and his wife, Debra, provided food and shelter to homeless people in their one-bedroom apartment in Pleasantville, according to club members.

Southrey began volunteering at the Atlantic City Rescue Mission after he witnessed more than 100 people camped out for or the safety and warmth of the old abandoned Atlantic City Railroad Station on a cold and rainy night. He became an Atlantic City Rescue Mission paid staff member in 1981 and served as CEO from 2000-2013.

After Southrey left the Rescue Mission, he became president of Haven, an Atlantic City organization that helps find safe, secure and affordable housing for the homeless.

Southrey and his wife live in Absecon and have three grown children, Sarai, Andrew and Caitlin.