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Quigley Goes “Undercover” at A Safe Haven

Mar 30, 2016
Press Release

CHICAGO – Today, U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05), a member of the House Appropriations Committee, went “undercover” to conduct mock interviews for a job readiness class at A Safe Haven, a non-profit social enterprise that empowers families and individuals experiencing homelessness or crisis with the skills necessary to transform their lives and achieve self-sufficiency.

“It is startling to know that tens of thousands of people experience homelessness in Chicago alone. More communities could learn and benefit from the integrated approach used by A Safe Haven, which tackles the root of the homelessness problem by helping individuals learn the skills and training necessary to achieve sustainable self-sufficiency,” said Rep. Quigley. “Run by Neli Vazquez-Rowland, it is inspiring to see strong female leadership helping citizens substantially change their circumstances for the better. I am grateful I had the opportunity to learn about and be a part of the process A Safe Haven uses to help Chicagoans secure a better future.”

As part of Women’s History Month, Rep. Quigley went undercover at female co-founded organization, A Safe Haven, to learn about the great work they are doing to help provide a path to self-sufficiency for Chicagoans who are homeless or in crisis. There he met with President and co-founder, Neli Vasquez-Rowland, to learn how and why she and her husband started the foundation, heard stories from residents who have been positively impacted by their experiences in the organization’s development programs, and helped conduct mock interviews and give constructive feedback to participants in one of A Safe Haven’s job readiness classes.

Our homeless residents are here for many reasons. Some have experienced drug and alcohol abuse and are in search of recovery and stability; others are victims of unemployment or under-employment. Many women and children also find their way to A Safe Haven due to issues such as domestic violence. In particular, ASHF is one of the few agencies in Illinois equipped to accommodate women with children who are homeless,” said Neli Vazquez-Rowland, President/Co-Founder of A Safe Haven. “We are excited to have Congressman Quigley join us “under cover” at A Safe Haven as a part of Women’s History Month! Each one of our homeless residents has a unique story and we are certain that in working directly with these men and women, the congressman had a true feel not only for the challenges they are working to overcome, but the life-changing impact A Safe Haven imparts in the lives of our state’s most vulnerable citizens.”

Rep. Mike Quigley giving advice on how to answer interview questions at one of A Safe Haven’s job readiness classes.

Rep. Mike Quigley with A Safe Haven President, Neli Vazquez-Rowland (right) and two graduated members of the STRIVE (Support and Training Results in Valuable Employees) Program.

A Safe Haven Foundation is a non-profit, social enterprise that helps people aspire, transform and sustain their lives as they transition from homelessness to self-sufficiency. A Safe Haven integrates supportive housing, case management, addiction treatment, education, and life skills, using their network of affordable housing, industry training, and job placement advocates to help individuals overcome the root causes of homelessness through a holistic and scalable model. A Safe Haven’s visible social and economic impact unites families, stabilizes neighborhoods, and creates vibrant, viable communities.

Rep. Quigley’s “Undercover Congressman” series connects him with constituents at their place of employment to better understand the daily challenges they face in their industry and community. Since taking office in 2009, Rep. Quigley has performed a wide range of jobs as an Undercover Congressman, including cleaning animal pens as a zookeeper at the Lincoln Park Zoo, packaging beer and cleaning tanks at Half Acre Brewery, pouring metal at a local metal refinery and delivering mail with the United States Post Office.