Safe Haven Family Shelter
1234 Third Avenue South
Nashville TN 37210
Mission Statement

Our mission is to "lead our community's efforts to house, support, empower and advocate for families experiencing homelessness."


CEO/Executive Director Ms. Joyce K. Lavery
Board Chair Mr. John Nefflen
Board Chair Company Affiliation American Addiction Centers
History & Background
Year of Incorporation 1984
Former Names
St. Patrick's Shelter
Organization's type of tax exempt status 501-C3
Financial Summary
Graph: Expense Breakdown Graph - All Years
Projected Expenses $1,986,487.00
Projected Annual Revenue 1986487 (2018)

Our mission is to "lead our community's efforts to house, support, empower and advocate for families experiencing homelessness."


Background Safe Haven Family Shelter has served the Middle Tennessee area for 33 years. Safe Haven was originally founded in St. Patrick's Church, known as St. Patrick's Shelter. The ever-growing need to serve homeless families took the founders in the direction of building the organization out into a new facility that could house 5 families. In October 2003, Safe Haven Family Shelter merged with Nashville Family Shelter to form the Nashville Safe Haven Family Shelter. This merger created an organization with over 40 years of combined community service and strengthened the organization’s ability to better serve homeless families by expanding resources and combining programs. Safe Haven can now house over 35 families at a time between the shelter facility, four transitional homes (scattered site) and using Rapid Rehousing and Transition in Place. Safe Haven continues to be the only shelter to permanent housing program of its kind in Middle Tennessee that accepts single and two parent homeless families. Under the Shelter Program, residents receive: intensive case management from licensed social workers, counseling and therapy, job readiness/training, financial coaching, and other services through a voluntary services model and using progressive engagement. Our programs employ evidence-based practices and highly trained staff. We also have a robust children's and youth program that offers high quality academic tutoring, innovative programs such as A Novel Idea, two Bright Spaces, and our summer program SEEDS. Using a housing first model and philosophy, we know that families can only become stable while in their own home and services are wrapped around them as we journey with each family to build community. Safe Haven also plays a leadership role in the community as we advocate for collaborative approaches toward reducing and ending family homelessness. 
1. In 2017 we served 88 families; 66% of the families served could not have been served elsewhere; over 84% depart our program with employment and housing. 
 2. Our annual fundraising events, Dancing for Safe Haven and Hike for the Homeless, continue their financial and attendance records and provide ways to connect the community with our mission.
3. Safe Haven launched Staff 360, a workforce development social enterprise.
Our top goals for 2018:
1) Provide leadership and expertise on family homelessness.
2) Partner with the Metro Homeless Commission, MDHA, and other community partners to implement the Coordinated Entry and Assessment model.
3) Continue to expand our housing partnerships with landlords and property owners that will expedite locating permanent, sustainable, and adequate housing for client families.
1. Continuous operational funding to help sustain continuously growing needs.
2. Landlords and property owners who are willing and able to provide affordable, safe, and permanent housing to the families we serve.
3. More employers willing to work with Safe Haven and our workforce development program by providing entry level jobs to our adults with the possibility for advancement through training and support.
4. Skilled volunteers to work with children experiencing homelessness,  and hospitality volunteers to provide meals and to answer phones and the door during peak business hours.
5. In-kind donations of paper goods (diapers, toilet paper, paper towels, etc.), new sheets, towels, pillows, and comforters (twin and double size) are always needed. 
Other ways to donate, support, or volunteer
Safe Haven also accepts online donations:, provides a list of volunteer opportunities:,  and accepts in-kind donations. For volunteer opportunities, please contact Emily Rattle at  (615) 256-8195,, or visit our website for  more information.
Service Categories
Primary Organization Category Housing, Shelter / Homeless Shelters
Secondary Organization Category Housing, Shelter / Housing Support
Tertiary Organization Category Human Services / Homeless Services/Centers
Areas of Service
Areas Served
TN - Cheatham
TN - Davidson
TN - Montgomery
TN - Robertson
TN - Rutherford
TN - Sumner
TN - Williamson
TN - Wilson
Safe Haven is the only shelter-to-permanent housing program of its kind in Middle Tennessee that accepts families  with children experiencing homelessness of all compositions and provides shelter, rapid rehousing and permanent housing programs. The organization serves Davidson County and other surrounding counties.
Board Chair Statement Safe Haven Family Shelter is a unique organization because it takes a programmatic approach in serving the homeless family population. The families are hard working individuals that deserve a second chance due to circumstances, many times, that are beyond their control. I believe in the mission of the organization, and what it does for the Middle Tennessee community. They are able to restore dignity to parents, while creating a brighter future for the children of the family. When I assumed the role of Board President, there were three key items that I wanted to focus on to improve upon the efficiency and operation of the organization: stabilization of funding, board involvement/support, and increased community awareness about the benefits of providing preventative education. In order to address these challenges, I have met with staff and board members to create a strategic plan which also aids in cohesion between the groups. I have participated in and will host a fundraiser later this year, in hopes to reach as many individuals as possible. The main challenge is that although Safe Haven has served our community for over 33 years, many people are unaware of the valuable service that it provides for society. It is my duty as Board chair to bridge the gap and educate as many as possible on the importance of Safe Haven. I am pleased to represent the organization, and am very optimistic about years to come.
CEO Statement
Safe Haven Family Shelter continues its tradition of compassionate care and excellence as we keep abreast of environmental changes and new research about family homelessness. 
We continue to focus on staff development and embrace best and promising practices and innovative solutions that work to minimize homeless episodes for our clients. We will continue to develop community relationships with landlords willing to provide affordable housing for our families so that when they leave our programs they will have a permanent opportunity to remain financially stable. My vision for Safe Haven remains to increase our capacity to serve more families, increase the scope of services we provide for our families in transition, and institute a professional environment that also provides a unique culture of community and compassionate care. A researcher at the top research institute, The Instititute for Children, Poverty & Homelessness recently claimed, "Safe Haven is not just a shelter, but a home". We our proud of our record of service, success, results, and compassionate care. Additionally, we have completed our capital campaign to improve and expand our facilities and services. We will continue to offer life changing opportunities that empower homeless families with children to overcome obstacles, reach their dreams, and sustain a stable community life.

The Shelter Program provides comprehensive education, counseling and support for families experiencing homelessness. Families receive the following: workforce development, financial literacy, case management, children's education and enrichment programs, wellness activities/nutrition education, parenting classes, therapeutic groups for parents/children, and assistance in obtaining affordable housing. Safe Haven can accommodate single parent,two-parent families and multigenerational families with children up to 18 years of age. Safe Haven operates from a housing first model, understanding that national statistics convey a family has greater sustainability and success when the shelter stay is lessened and housing is secured. Our evidence-based program models use trauma-informed care, critical time intervention, and motivational interviewing to ensure we are using our resources well to assist families experiencing homelessness return to stability. Our current typical duration of stay for a family is about 70 days.  

Budget 1087300
Category Human Services, General/Other Case Management
Population Served Homeless, Families, Children and Youth (0 - 19 years)
Short Term Success

The success of the Shelter Program is evaluated by a family completing all projected goals and returning into the community with stable employment and secured housing. The program strives to stop the cycle of chronic homelessness before it begins by keeping families together to bond  through the traumatic experience. Families are not forced to separate during a difficult time in their lives, and are able to address dysfunctional behavior that led them to the current situation.


Long term Success
Program Success Monitored By

Program success is evaluated by outcomes associated with the VISPDAT, which is a vulnerability assessment tool and measures several of the following individual goals:

Adult Education
Child Education
Financial Stability
Housing Stability
Examples of Program Success

The stats below are for the families that were served in 2017:

88 Families Served

112 Adults

221 Children

65 Single Mothers

11 Single Fathers (Very limited resources for single fathers experiencing homelessness in Nashville)

10 Two Parents

2 Multi-generational families

40 Families Housed
5 Families Rehoused  

80 individuals completed their individual goals regarding their average increase in income for employment, and over 84 percent of families maintained housing after program departure.  In May 2018, a former high school client received her 4 year college degree in education, and a former parent client received her degree from TSU in social work. 


As our community recognizes the value of rapid rehousing as a proven strategy to reduce family homelessness, our increased funding for rapid rehousing we are able to move families in the shelter and/or transitional housing to their own housing, usually rental, with funds to offset housing expenses for up to nine months (evaluated on an individual basis). This model provides greater stability for families, allows Safe Haven to serve more families in a more cost efficient manner, and is proven to be highly effective best practice.
Budget $741,096
Category Housing, General/Other Affordable Housing
Population Served Homeless, Families, At-Risk Populations
Program Success Monitored By The success is measured by housing stability, employment stability and maintaining housing after program services end.
Examples of Program Success In 2017, 40 families were housed and over 84 percent of families maintained housing after program departure. 
CEO Comments Now in its 34th year, Safe Haven Family Shelter has experienced increased growth and enhancements to our Shelter Program culminating in our recent expansion and renovation of our shelter facility. We strive to stop the cycle of chronic homelessness before it begins by providing the most effective and efficient services for families to achieve long-term sustainability in independent living. Community partnerships, education, volunteerism, and donations have all play a vital role in our organization's success. It is imperative that we participate with the community in reducing family homelessness, not just managing it. The Rapid Rehousing and Transition-in- Place Programs are becoming models for assisting more families to reach and sustain independent living with minimal disruption of family living and stability. We believe that by effectively working with businesses, government agencies, faith based organizations, community based organizations, and individuals we can substantially reduce homelessness in our community and better serve those families that have become homeless.
Board Chair
Board Chair Mr. John Nefflen
Company Affiliation American Addiction Centers
Term Jan 2017 to Dec 2020
Board Members
Mr. Kyle Allen VACOVoting
Mr. Eric Baer GEVoting
Mr. Jonathan Barnes Staffing as a MissionVoting
Ms. Paula Barnes Dickinson-Wright, PLLC Voting
Mrs. Stephanie Bonner Bank of AmericaVoting
Mr. Jeff Bradford The Bradford GroupVoting
Mr. Edmundo Cepeda AsurionVoting
Mr. Gary Cooper SkanskaVoting
Mrs. Gari Cowan CAT FinancialVoting
Ms. Debbie Flack Pinnacle BankVoting
Ms. Candi Flowers ServiceSourceVoting
Mr. Dustin Hillis Southwestern ConsultingVoting
Mr. Dan Hogan MedalogixVoting
Mr. Sean Kirk Bone McAllester Norton PLLCVoting
Ms. Christie Laird AttorneyVoting
Ms. Kristine Lalonde Lipscomb UniversityVoting
Mr. Thomas O'Neal Lasley SunTrust Investment Services, Inc.Voting
Ms. Rachel Layton Taziki's Mediterranean Cafe Voting
Mrs. Leigh Lindsey McNeely, Pigott and Fox Public RelationsVoting
Ms. Kearstin Patterson HCAVoting
Ms. Kearstin Patterson HCAVoting
Ms. Callie Pfeifer Conserv Business ServicesVoting
Mr. Josh Rosenblatt BTC, Inc. Voting
Mr. Conrad Schneider CDI Contractors, LLC Voting
Mr. Scott Schumann Tipping Futures, LLC Voting
Mr. Slade Sevier Dickinson-Wright, PLLCVoting
Dr. Sharon Shaw-McEwen Retired EducatorVoting
Ms. Andrea Stilwell InterFaith Dental ClinicNonVoting
Mr. John Tougher YLC Representative NonVoting
Mr. Ken Williamson MEDHOSTVoting
Ms. Vicki Yates NewsChannel 5Voting
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 3
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 26
Hispanic/Latino 1
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 17
Female 13
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 3
Board Meeting Attendance % 80%
Does the organization have written Board Selection Criteria? Yes
Does the organization have a written Conflict of Interest Policy? Yes
Percentage of Board Members making Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage of Board Members making In-Kind Contributions 100%
Does the Board include Client Representation? Yes
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 6
Standing Committees
Advisory Board
Board Development / Board Orientation
Development / Fund Raising
Campus Planning and Development
Risk Management Provisions
Accident & Injury Coverage
Automobile Insurance
Commercial General Liability
Directors & Officers Policy
Employment Practices Liability
General Property Coverage
Life Insurance
Additional Board Members
Mr. Henry Bedford Southwestern
Mr. Charles Robert Bone Bone, McAllester Norton, PLLC
Ms. Dawn Bunetta
Mrs. Karen Conrad
Mr. William Diehl Pinnacle Bank
Mrs. Kelly Dillon Fear No Art
Mr. Jimmy Evans Jr.Marsh
Mr. Chad Greer Northwestern Mutual
Mrs. Sameera Lowe Loud & Clear Communications
Dr. Mike Minch Retired
Mr. Jerry Moss Kraft CPA's
Mr. Brian Roark Bass, Berry & Sims
Mr. Dave Roberson
Mrs. Tammy Rutherford Rustici
Mr. Jim Shulman City Council
Mr. David Weil Quorum Health
CEO Comments

Statement from the Board President:  

The Safe Haven Family Shelter organization has operated for over 32years in Middle Tennessee to support and empower homeless families with children to achieve lasting self sufficiency. The key challenges for our clients (and our organization) are as societal as they are individual. Affordable housing and living wage jobs are becoming more and more difficult as the Nashville community continues to thrive and expand. Many service jobs are created by the growth of our city - but also many entrants into the area land those jobs, drive up the cost of living and challenge the livelihood of the families that typically become our clients.

As an organization, we have recently invested critical resources, time and dollars on increasing our Social Enterprise and Community Advocacy efforts. As Board President, I personally feel responsible for taking Safe Haven to the next level as it relates to expanding our reach and impact exponentially. The way we can do that is by effective partnerships with the government and businesses - as well as helping to shape and educate the community on the needs of our clients. To that end, we have supplemented our reach and impact by launching an Advisory Council as well as an Emeritus Board. These two arms of our organization help to link us with the community and influential business leaders so that we can achieve the impact we desire.

Partnerships with landlords and job providers will allow our clients a quicker path to success than in the past. Our organization has stellar results serving clients that come through our programs. We have an amazing staff that utilizes (and develops) best practices throughout the nation for serving homeless families. With the alignment of our staff and board resources, we will take the next step in achieving our Vision - ending family homelessness in Middle Tennessee.

Executive Director/CEO
Executive Director Ms. Joyce K. Lavery
Term Start June 2009
Joyce Lavery has been a nonprofit executive since 1994. In Nashville, she began her experience as The Director of Program Services, Research, and Innovation at the Girl Scout Council of Middle Tennessee for six years. In 2000, she became the Executive Director of the National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJ), Nashville Region and spearheaded its independence as the President and Executive Director of Community Nashville and was among its founding members. While serving the NCCJ and Community Nashville, she was elected to the National Staff Committee and was appointed to the evaluation committee which produced a nationally recognized evaluation handbook. Ms. Lavery was also a founding member of The National Federation of Just Communities and served on its board. Ms. Lavery has also served on other boards including Bastion, Inc., Happy Tales, Community Shares. In her previous life, she received a Master's Degree in Applied Urban Anthropology from the University of Memphis. While a graduate student, she helped found The Women's Fund of Memphis, served as in multiple leadership roles and received a Writing Across the Disciplines Award for designing and teaching a class for the curriculum in qualitative research methods and received recognition for her student teaching along with writing and delivering papers on poverty studies and neighborhood development. Her interests span across these interests: diversity, justice, and community.
She is married to Dr. David Lavery, a professor at MTSU and nationally known scholar in media studies and has two grown daughters, one a writer and one an attorney, all published authors.
Former CEOs
Ms Catherine Knowles Oct 2008 - June 2009
Mr Bruce Newport Jan 2004 - Sept 2008
Full Time Staff 17
Part Time Staff 10
Volunteers 2000
Contractors 2
Retention Rate 90%
Plans & Policies
Does the organization have a documented Fundraising Plan? Yes
Does the organization have an approved Strategic Plan? Yes
Number of years Strategic Plan Considers 3
When was Strategic Plan adopted? Jan 2017
In case of a change in leadership, is a Management Succession plan in place? Under Development
Does the organization have a Policies and Procedures Plan? Yes
Does the organization have a Nondiscrimination Policy? Yes
AFP (Association of Fundraising Professionals)2004
ANE (Association of Nonprofit Executives)2004
Center for Nonprofit Management Excellence Network2004
United Way Member Agency1994
Nashville Chamber of Commerce2006
Nashville Coalition for the Homeless2004
Nashville Chamber of Commerce2012
Excellence in Communication AwardCenter for Nonprofit Management2002
Marvin Runyan Leadership AwardCenter for Nonprofit Management2010
Finalist - Compassionate Care AwardCenter for Nonprofit Management/Baptist Healing Trust2011
EVE Certification - Excellence in Volunteer EngagementCenter for Nonprofit Management2012
Collaboration College FinalistLipscomb University, HCA, CNM2012
Parthenon Award -Best Brochure (Widen Our Welcome)PRSA2013
Top Ten Charities Worth Watching and 4-Star RatingCharity Navigator2014
EVE-Excellence in Volunteer EngagementCenter for Nonprofit Management/ Hands On Nashville2014
Neighborhood Builder Award & Grant RecipientBank of America2015
Senior Staff
Title Chief Operating Officer
Title Program Director
Title Director of Development
Experience/Biography Rachael Wilkins has been a part of the Safe Haven team since June 2004, and is currently employed as the Director of Communications and Development. Rachael is a graduate of Trevecca Nazarene University, where she received her B.S. in Interpersonal Communications. At Trevecca, Rachael was a member of the Women’s Soccer team, and was a Scholar Athlete. She also completed a Marketing internship with the Nashville Sounds. After college, she moved home to East Tennessee to fulfill an Assistant Coaching position at Elizabethton High School. She then relocated to Nashville to pursue opportunities within her field, and has been with Safe Haven ever since.
Fiscal Year
Fiscal Year Start Jan 01 2018
Fiscal Year End Dec 31 2018
Projected Revenue $1,986,487.00
Projected Expenses $1,986,487.00
Endowment Spending Policy N/A
Endowment Spending Percentage (if selected) 0%
Detailed Financials
Revenue and ExpensesHelpFinancial data for prior years is entered by foundation staff based on the documents submitted by nonprofit organizations.Foundation staff members enter this information to assure consistency in the presentation of financial data across all organizations.
Fiscal Year201720162015
Total Revenue$1,720,676$1,597,485$1,540,126
Total Expenses$2,082,147$2,008,158$1,785,129
Revenue Less Expenses($361,471)($410,673)($245,003)
Revenue SourcesHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available) and revenue sources may not sum to total based on reconciliation differences. Revenue from foundations and corporations may include individual contributions when not itemized separately.
Fiscal Year201720162015
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
Government Contributions$473,518$437,188$415,484
Individual Contributions$887,793$800,147$775,783
Investment Income, Net of Losses$2,712$2,745$3,236
Membership Dues$0$0$0
Special Events$291,827$276,315$245,160
Revenue In-Kind$50,662$64,750$84,800
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201720162015
Program Expense$1,598,622$1,540,174$1,418,372
Administration Expense$224,164$223,269$163,772
Fundraising Expense$259,361$244,715$202,985
Payments to Affiliates--$0$0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses0.830.800.86
Program Expense/Total Expenses77%77%79%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue16%16%14%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201720162015
Total Assets$3,231,814$3,684,052$3,914,691
Current Assets$1,127,748$1,392,331$1,429,274
Long-Term Liabilities$43,304$216,522$332,000
Current Liabilities$69,472$52,771$45,360
Total Net Assets$3,119,038$3,414,759$3,537,331
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201720162015
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities16.2326.3831.51
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201720162015
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets1%6%8%
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201720162015
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountContributions, Gifts and Grants $887,793Contributions, Gifts and Grants $800,147Contributions, Gifts and Grants $775,783
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountGovernment Grants $473,518Government Grants $437,188Government Grants $415,484
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountFundraising Events $291,827Fundraising Events $276,315Fundraising Events $245,160
IRS Letter of Exemption
Capital Campaign
Is the organization currently conducting a Capital Campaign for an endowment or the purchase of a major asset? No
Campaign Purpose Safe Haven's goals for the Widen our Welcome campaign of 2012 were to renovate and expand the existing shelter facility. Funds were used for capital improvements, to expand the facility to serve twice as many families, and to develop a more efficient space for both residents/clients and professional staff.
Capital Campaign Goal $3,000,000.00
Campaign Start and End Dates Nov 2011 to Dec 2015
Capital Campaign Raised-to-Date Amount 2775402 as of Mar 2014
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? No
State Charitable Solicitations Permit
TN Charitable Solicitations Registration Yes - Expires June 2019
Solicitations Permit
Charitable Solicitations Permit
Registration No
Organization Comments

*Most Recent FYE Total Net Income $(113,766)

In 2014, Safe Haven Family Shelter recognized a non-cash loss on the disposal of the old shelter facility when the new one was constructed--showing a net loss for the year. For just the organization's operating budget, at the end of the 2014 year, the balance sheet demonstrated a $111,911 over budget in income.

In 2014, the Financial Comments
Financial figures taken from the 990.
Financial documents completed by Crosslin, PLLC.
Comments provided by Kathryn Bennett 8/2/18.
Nonprofit Safe Haven Family Shelter
Address 1234 Third Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37210
Primary Phone (615) 256-8195 104
Contact Email
CEO/Executive Director Ms. Joyce K. Lavery
Board Chair Mr. John Nefflen
Board Chair Company Affiliation American Addiction Centers
Year of Incorporation 1984
Former Names
St. Patrick's Shelter

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