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Pay It Forward: The Haven Shelter


The Haven is a shelter in Idaho Falls. The manager, Anne Johnson, said it has been around for about 26 years. She took Eyewitness News anchor Todd Kunz on a tour so he could learn who they serve and how they've done it for more than two decades.

They temporarily serve homeless families and single women to help them get back on their feet. She said being under-educated, under-employed, domestic violence, or drug addiction are the major life disruptions that bring a person in the doors.

"Either those things happened because of a spouse or things they caused it in their lives, but we feel that if someone wants to change things that they've done wrong, then they deserve that chance without any judgement," said Johnson.

She said these causes do not correspond with certain times of the year, so you can throw out the holidays and cold winter weather. The facility is needed by many people, year round. They have 23 units at the main community center and seven units of transitional housing scattered around Idaho Falls. Currently, they are five families over capacity by doubling up.

With such a great demand, it falls on the community to step up and help, and they usually deliver.

"I don't have a big enough budget to run this place without the community's help, at all. I'm not even close. I rely on the cans of food and the dishes and the towels, as well as the monetary donations to be able to run this place," said Johnson.
Sounds like they can use a little 'Pay It Forward.'

"Anne, how are you?" said Kory Carling assistant vice president of branches with Mountain America Credit Union.

"Fine," said Johnson.

"Good. Hey, I'm Kory with Mountain America Credit Union."

"OK?" said Johnson.

"We've heard a lot about your organization and the impact you are having on our community and all the families that you are willing to help and the constant struggle it is to provide for those," said Carling.

"Uh huh!" said Johnson as she begun to laugh and catch on to the surprise.

"So I'm here today to help 'Pay It Forward.' And I've brought with me today, $500 cash that we hope will help you continue to further your cause with our community. You do an amazing job," said Carling.

"Thank you!" said Johnson.

"You are more than welcome," said Carling.

"Thank you so much. That is. You guys! Oh thank you so much," said Johnson.

"You are more than welcome," said Carling.

"Oh, this will go so far. In between helping clients out with work shoes and GED's and helping get any kind of ... I can pull a tooth. I can pull five teeth with this. I can help somebody get some prescriptions. I can ... Oh my gosh," said Johnson.

"Well, I'm glad. I hope it helps continue things. Well done," said Carling.

"Thank you very much. Thank you. I appreciate this. Wow!" said Johnson.

The Haven can always use donations of any kind. You can usually watch their marquee in front of the building for their needs.

"Pay It Forward" will air the second Wednesday of every month. If you know of a nonprofit organization or someone who deserves to be recognized for their contributions to the area, click on "Pay It Forward" off to the right side of our website and fill out the form or send an email to Eyewitness News anchor Todd Kunz at

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Todd Kunz

Todd is an anchor for Eyewitness News 3, Local News 8 and Fox 5.


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