Kaysie: My name is Kaysie Strickland and I am Founder and Executive Director of Homes and Havens Homes and Havens was born out of a really intense traumatic personal experience in my life: I almost lost both of my parents to addiction about five years ago. Walking with someone that I loved through that process really invoked a lot of compassion and empathy in my heart for people who are trapped in some kind of traumatic life crisis. Through that process, I started volunteering at a lot of organizations and agencies here in Chattanooga and fell in love with their clients and the women and the children that I worked with and then recognized kind of a gap in care. Once a woman was rehabilitated – once she gets the key to her new place – emotionally and financially she can’t even think about creating a home – furnishing an entire home for her family, for her kids – much less in a creative way. So I started helping just one girl at a time one room at a time. Our clients and the women that we serve could be overcoming homelessness, domestic violence, sex trafficking, incarceration, addiction, any kind of major life trauma or crisis – that is kind of the major qualification to be referred for our services. We’re really wanting to communicate to these women, “We see you, we love you, we want nothing from you, and we just want to say, ‘Welcome home.’” That’s not us sitting across from a counseling situation every day or every other week or whatever and saying, “You’re worth it, you’re valuable, we love you, we see you.” But they get to wake up in their home every day and it confronts the lies they’ve believed their whole life. We get to leave, but I know that home keeps talking to them long after we leave. I started this organization out of my carport and I have a Civic – the Civic is literally the worst vehicle that you could ever choose for this – but I would find a way. I would borrow trucks and trailers from neighbors or relatives or whatever to try to get an entire home out of my carport and into this woman’s home all by myself but that was only sustainable for so long. Someone had recommended Bellhops, and I immediately loved the process of being able to book online and see what dates and times were available in an instant even a week before, because my installs were usually really quick turnaround and that kind of stuff so I could easily find a time, book it, and then count on those people. I needed someone that I could count on to show up for me because this woman is counting on us showing up for her. I mean, there were so many different circumstances that would happen and I was like, “They’re not going to show up,” and
they would. It really gave me more capacity since I could finally trust a company and the quality of men that showed up for
me, it increased my capacity to start thinking about other things that I needed to think about in the organization. It was a literal game-changer. It went from, “I don’t know how much longer I can do this,” to, “Look out world, I’m about to show up all over the place.” It was so powerful for me to like, “Alright, this is exactly what I’ve been
waiting for.” I just love Bellhops so much, we couldn’t do it without Bellhops. The best way to support Homes and Havens is financial contributions. You can give online homesandhavens.org is our website and we are a 501(c)(3) so all donations are tax-deductible. I would love to go from being able to do one home a month to three or four homes a month and really make a significant impact on our waiting list because we have women waiting on our list that need beds tomorrow and I’m not going to be able to get to them until December. That eats at me every day. If we had financial resources I would love to take on more clients a month. That’s kind of the big dream I have for it. We’re getting closer to that every day that
passes because of generous people and companies like Bellhops.