Hope For Hope Haven - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

HELPING AREA CHILDREN

Hope For Hope Haven

"We certainly need the community to stay behind Hope Haven or our doors are going to close that's it," Hope Haven Director Terry Latham said. "We need help every single year, every single day to keep these kids in a safe place."

For the next two months they will be holding a membership drive and it starts with a membership party to thank those who have helped fund Hope Haven in the past and hopefully to generate new interest in helping the shelter now and into the future.Hope Haven receives about eight percent of its annual operating budget from United Way, but it takes a great deal of the community's help as well to care for abused children.

"The rest of it has to come from local business support and support from individuals who care about kids," Latham said. "It's going to cost about $275,000 this year to keep Hope Haven open. We're going to care for up to 12 children, and so far in five years we've had over 800 local children find a safe place."

Dr. Thomas Seglio is a board member with Hope Haven and says, "When people put money into Hope Haven and into our charity, they know that they're stepping in for where the government fails to or the community has failed to provide for children."

Since Hope Haven built a new facility to replace the original building that got too small and cramped, it does cost more to run the children's shelter, and with a slower economy, also seems to be a slower donation rate. The shelters donations have dropped off by 20 percent this year at a shelter that is finding a way to use donated money in the best way.

"We're the most efficient shelter in the state," Latham said. "Our administrative expense is less than five percent, so 95 percent or better of the money that we bring in is spent directly on these children."

Dr. Seglio says, "It's a testimony to the resolve of people to put together an organization without government help that serves these children in a vital way."

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