River Haven is a unique community. It's not on the map. You don't know where it is. You canʻt see it. But for all intensive purposes itʻs real.
The concept of River Haven began when approximately 180 homeless people were notified that they must vacate the Ventura River bottom in anticipation of the 2004 floods. Many of the people living in the river bottom had resided there for years. It was their home.
Ventura’s community leaders knew that the sweeps of the river bottom that occurred in the past were ineffective without adequate alternatives for the homeless, so year after year they returned to the river bottom almost as soon as the sweeps were completed. In October 2004 the first of a series of meetings was organized by Ventura city officials bringing together the entire community to look for innovative solutions.
One of the solutions that came out of this community-wide effort was the idea of a self-governed tent city such as is found in other cities. The major difference? Community support. This project ultimately resulted in the formation of River Haven.
The initial membership of the River Haven community consisted of 30 persons who accepted the challenge of working toward building their own community. This community was and still remains open today providing a much needed hand up out of homelessness.
The tents are now over three years old and in a state of disrepair. Several of them have been retired, meaning we have fewer sites to house our homeless. We have found an answer with technology’s development of the U-Dome which has a life span of 10-15 years and provides the answer to our housing dilemma at a reasonable cost.
Saturday marks the beginning of the final phase of the reconstruction project. Consider coming out and being part of the solution as we deconstruct and clear the ground to provide housing for our neighbors.
See you Saturday September 19th 9a @ River Haven.