DeKALB - Homeless does not mean hopeless. Just ask the residents of Hope Haven. Hope Haven, DeKalb County's only homeless shelter, hosted a Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday, and, though down on their luck, many residents still had reasons to be thankful. Marcus Williams arrived in DeKalb in 1996 to attend Northern Illinois University after serving in the National Guard. But working three jobs and going to school full-time became too much, and Williams said he eventually left NIU and found himself living with his mother. Following a disagreement with her, he made his way to public housing and then to Hope Haven. “I am most thankful to be able to stay here,” Williams said. He said Hope Haven has given him with the opportunity to get back on his feet and eventually get his own apartment. Currently working at a local warehouse, Williams said his goal is to get back in school and finish his education at NIU. “It doesn't make much sense for me to come here from Chicago to go to school and not finish,” he said. Other residents reflected a thankful mood as well, though many chose not to be identified on the record. One resident, who wished to be identified only as “Bob,” said he was most thankful for the “warm place to stay” offered by Hope Haven. Bob said he has lived in and around DeKalb for nine years, having come back from Las Vegas and California to be closer to family. He set up residence in a town about 10 miles from DeKalb and took to working what he described as a sales job. Time passed and sales slowed, and a family member suffered a major illness. The result was that Bob eventually had no place to stay. “Too many things went wrong all at once,” he said. Bob has been at Hope Haven for the last two and half weeks. He has up to 90 days to “get on his feet” but he said he hoped it would not take that long. Others, including Williams, were thankful for Hope Haven staff. Hope Haven case managers Jameelah Rheaves and Mike Baumeister were on hand to oversee the dinner, which started a bit late due to a miscommunication. By 7 p.m., however, the food was on site and ready to be served. The dinner, funded by the Knights of Columbus, was dropped off by Sarah and Lenny French, who spent most of their day preparing an 18-pound turkey, a 9-pound ham, four different kinds of potatoes, corn, beans, stuffing, rolls and pies. The dinner was well received as residents and volunteers filled plate after plate. One of those volunteers was first-year NIU accounting graduate student Alex Siharat, 30. Siharat, a licensed attorney and graduate of the University of Illinois and Cornell Law School, had his family Thanksgiving celebration a day early. His open schedule on Thursday allowed him to come to Hope Haven to help out. Although Thanksgiving Day was his first time volunteering at Hope Haven, he said he intends to help out as much as possible. “I think that it's a very human thing to do, to help other people,” Siharat said He stumbled on the volunteer opportunity while visiting NIU's Web site and said that he intended to encourage others to help out at Hope Haven as well. He said he thought many people were not aware of the shelter and thus the volunteer opportunities that exist there.