A Safe Haven Wins a Chicago Innovation Award for Its Innovative Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

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A Safe Haven of Chicago has been named a 19th annual Chicago Innovation Award Winner. A Safe Haven won in the Chicago Innovation Awards' Non-Profit Category for its COVID-19 Medical Respite Center in partnership with Chicago Department of Health (CDPH) and Rush University Medical Center (RUMC). The center provides health and behavioral healthcare services to COVID-19 positive patients, who cannot isolate at home or are homeless. There were over 9,000 people registered to participate in the inaugural virtual awards event.

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"Thank God, our plan to save and heal lives is working. We are proud to boast a 100% survival and success rate among the hundreds of patients and residents that we have served in the Medical Respite, so far!"

A Safe Haven of Chicago has been named a 19th annual Chicago Innovation Award Winner. A Safe Haven won in the Chicago Innovation Awards' Non-Profit Category for its COVID-19 Medical Respite Center in partnership with Chicago Department of Health (CDPH) and Rush University Medical Center (RUMC). The center provides health and behavioral healthcare services to COVID-19 positive patients, who cannot isolate at home or are homeless. There were over 9,000 people registered to participate in the inaugural virtual awards event.

The Chicago Innovation Awards is the Chicago region’s foremost recognition of the most innovative new products or services brought to market each year.

A Safe Haven was able to quickly collaborate to convert a 7,000 square feet space into a fully functional hospital grade negative air 50-100 bed medical respite isolation space to serve COVID-19 diagnosed vulnerable patients. It provides a safe place to heal under the direct medical and behavioral healthcare supervision of trained professionals and to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to others.

“In this year of a global pandemic, innovation is needed now more than ever,” said Tom Kuczmarski, co-founder with Chicago journalist Dan Miller of the awards. “2020 winners are solving big problems in healthcare, community and workforce development, education, finance, agriculture, electronics, telecommunications, manufacturing, drug development, business services, and more.”

Neli Vazquez Rowland, co-founder and president of A Safe Haven, expressed her gratitude to the Chicago Innovation Awards judges in selecting her nonprofit organization.

“As America is on the verge of experiencing what is predicted to become the biggest surge of homelessness this winter, due to the ravaging and ripple effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, on individuals and families that were homeless and those that were already living one paycheck away from homelessness, we are so proud to have stood up what has now become known as a national model for addressing the pandemic and homelessness among people in need of shelter,” she said. “The homeless and those living in doubled up congregate living situations and in need of professional health and behavioral healthcare were among the hardest hit by the pandemic and were suddenly desperately in need of shelter and other wrap around services to address their positive diagnoses and all of their social determinants of health. Thank God, our plan to save and heal lives is working. We are proud to boast a 100% survival and success rate among the hundreds of patients and residents that we have served in the Medical Respite, so far! “

The winning organizations receive a variety of honors including the opportunity to ring the Nasdaq Bell in New York City, and meetings with the Mayor of Chicago, Governor of Illinois, Cook County President, and leaders from the United Nations Foundation.

“There were 272 organizations nominated for this year’s awards,” said Luke Tanen, Executive Director of the Chicago Innovation Awards. “As a group, these nominees are responsible for generating over $5.6 billion in new revenues, 7,322 new jobs, and 1,683 patents from their nominated new products and services. The winners represent the best from this very impressive group.”

The complete list of this year’s Chicago Innovation Award winners can be found at http://www.chicagoinnovation.com.

The Chicago Innovation Awards are supported by Founding Diamond Sponsor Theron Technology Solutions; Diamond Sponsors Wintrust, Accenture, and SMS Assist, Gold Sponsors Comcast Business and Exelon, and others.

About A Safe Haven:
A Safe Haven Foundation is a 501(c) 3 not for profit, social enterprise that helps people aspire, transform and sustain their lives as they transition from homelessness to self-sufficiency with pride and purpose.

A Safe Haven provides the tools for each individual to 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. For information, visit http://www.asafehaven.org.

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Marie Lazzara
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