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The Urban Haven Project

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Published October 2021

The Urban Haven Project (UHP) is a locally-homegrown, not-for-profit charity outreach ministry established by Dan Morand in 2016 in London. This non-denomination, Christian ministry’s original purpose and goal was to address the growing needs of the homeless, near-homeless and marginalized population in the SoHo area of London, a generational poor sector just south of the downtown core.

UHP operated a traditional outreach outpost where clientele would come on location for a daily lunch, clothing, grocery and offered help through a variety of programs and services such as faith-based 12-steps groups, GriefShare, Art classes, tax help, advocacy among other things.

Partnerships with the UWO and Fanshawe Nursing Programs and Western’s Law program provided both education and awareness for the students to the growing social needs in the community as well as hands-on placements for the students in their programs. Community partnerships with business, church and service clubs as well as individual financial supporters of UHP made it possible to effectively reach 100’s a month.

Semi-annual coat, toy and food drives kept those in need supplied with basic essentials throughout the year. Relationships were formed then came Bible studies and a variety of biblical-based groups. UHP began to offer shelter from the cold to the homeless population by bringing them into the location over night and offered the “Intentional Journey (live-in) program From Homelessness to a Life of Purpose” for men caught in the grips of homelessness. Success was seen as the men re-entered the workforce and were provided with options of stabilized housing. Everything was on track.....programs were effective, people were returning to school, work or volunteering and all was working out well.

Then suddenly, in March of 2020 a global pandemic hit making it near-impossible to maintain the level of service Urban Haven had grown accustomed to doing for 5 years! The restrictions of social distancing and ever-changing guidelines imposed by the government forced UHP to pray out-of-the-box in order to continue making an impact in the community. Something had to change and something was better than nothing.

Urban Haven came to the realization that if people could no longer come to their small, limited physical sized location for meals and services, then they needed to go out to where people lived! Go out they did - with meals, grocery, clothing and services right into several greatest need neighbourhoods and motel complexes where people lived. What initially appeared bleak and hopeless changed the direction of UHP forever! No one else was going right into places where people lived.

This was an opportunity to love on people in their own homes. It wasn’t easy as the Covid19 requirements and rules changed constantly and UHP had to remain in close contact with the local Health Units to ensure operations were suitable for the current time. The response was amazing, not only was UHP going right into neighbourhoods but they provided an opportunity for the people that lived there to volunteer in their own area! Instead of being a traditional outreach to those in need, bringing food and clothing, it became an opportunity for relationships as these homegrown volunteers assumed the role of ambassadors to their own neighbourhoods. Today Urban Haven has over 50 such ambassadors in the neighbourhoods it serves!

Despite a pandemic, in the last 18+ months Urban Haven has experienced exponential expansion of its physical territory to now include neighbourhoods in Chatham, Windsor and the rural communities of Essex County in Amherstburg, Essex and Leamington along with the 6 neighbourhoods in London! The majority of those helped now are families and seniors. UHP’s focus is more on prevention as opposed to dealing with people as they experience homelessness. There are many other services that address issues of those caught in homelessness that UHP chose to switch gears in capturing those in the under-served neighbourhoods that don’t receive any help. The once humble work on location in a small area of London seeing 20 people has grown to well over 2000 from London, Chatham to Windsor/Essex County!

Urban Haven’s community partners have also doubled since the beginning of Covid to now include: 3 locations of Value Village, Joe Fresh, METRO, Food Basics, No Empty Bowls, Jeanny’s Angels, Harvest Hands, farmers, egg producers and a number of other suppliers and organizations in the cities where they serve. God has certainly provided the way and means to meet the increased needs in the communities in Southwestern Ontario!

A typical outreach event to communities provides a free lunch or BBQ each time it heads into a neighbourhood for the sole purpose of relationship building. Grocery, clothing and produce are offered to help those get through the month. The purpose isn’t just to supply goods to help people through the month, but relationships to help people through life because UHP cares about people!

Urban Haven Project is a not-for-profit charity solely reliant on tax-deductible donations. Canada-Helps is the Urban Haven Project’s main source to flow donations through. You can find them on their web site at: or go straight to the Canada-Helps site at:

Non-perishable donations can be dropped off Monday to Wednesday 9am - 4pm at 424 Grey St (beside Beth Emanuel Church). Please call 226-235-1575 prior to drop off.

You can also keep up with the latest news by liking and subscribing to their Facebook Page at: urbanhavenproject.

For more information on this important ministry, please visit: