From Homelessness to Stability

by Families Moving Forward
Vetted

Families Moving Forward has had a busy and exciting start to year 2016! What was previously the transitional shelter known as Genesis Home has successfully merged with Durham Interfaith Hospitality Network to recreate and re-imagine itself and its mission in the Durham Community.  Through our Capital Campaign, we were able to finance the complete reconstruction of our building’s first floor, opening up 8 new family suites to provide temporary homes to struggling families.

Approximately 170 families experience homelessness in Durham annually. 

“I have a lot of compassion for the families we serve at our shelter,” a staff member states, “I receive phone calls daily from parents asking for help, or mothers crying because their children are suffering and unprotected from the climate, hot or cold, because she has no other option than to have her family sleep in their car in a park”. (Aubrey Thorlakson, Development Associate). 

Everyone can agree that a starving, sick, or unprotected child is a crime against humanity, and it is our mission through an emergency shelter and rapid re-housing program to end the crisis of homelessness in Durham by 2020. We believe it is possible, and we see success every day. 

Erica and her three young children successfully moved out of our program into their own two bedroom apartment early this April within a community they felt happy and comfortable. “I’m living right near a friend!” Erica exclaimed with a smile on her face. “Meeting with my case manager helped me stay on task, and living [at Families Moving Forward] opened my eyes and made me motivated to become independent. It’s a good program that keeps you focused and helps get your life together,” she told us in her exit interview as she excitedly begins a new chapter in her life’s story.

None of this is possible without you, our donors and supporters! Together with your help, this year so far we have successfully moved 33 individuals into permanent housing; they are exiting towards a brighter tomorrow because of those who support our cause.

We are embarking on a new chapter of our own as we finish furnishing our new building floor and get ready to welcome eight more families into our program. “The need for housing and shelter is so high,” one of our case managers tells us, “we have families that have been waiting for months to get into a program like ours. As we transition to emergency housing  I want that [wait] to no longer exist”. (Amanda Sale, Family Services Coordinator

Thanks to our many volunteers and supporters our renovation is almost complete. We are indebted to groups such as Whole Lotta Love who have gone above and beyond to make Families Moving Forward more than just a shelter, but also a temporary home. Whole Lotta Love is painting and decorating our suites to give our families more than just a place to sleep, but a space to feel proud of and safe to re-establish a new way of life. Treating our families like their own, organizations and volunteers help us create an inspiring and positive environment for everyone who walks through our open doors. 

We have been inspired to continue the work that we do by your passion for our program and by your continued support. Thank you for continuing to make Families Moving Forward a safe and beautiful temporary home for families needing a second chance!

Room decorated by Whole Lotta Love
Room decorated by Whole Lotta Love

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A mother and a family of five recently had their dreams come true - a home of their own.  They actually had their dream come true 8 months ago and were packed and ready to go but their dreams came crashing down when their "new home" failed to pass inspection.  Those 8 months were like starting over - again. In fact, the mother lost her two jobs within that timeframe.  One was due to bus transportation and the other ( a great factory job) was because she had to miss work to supervise one of her younger children that was having behavioral disorders. 

At Families Moving Forward we are moving toward an emergency shelter model where families are placed more quickly into permanent housing and receive case management support and volunteer support in order to stay housed. We are just growing this exciting program but maybe 8 months ago that might have helped the month in this story.

The story has a happy ending due to our tenacity and her resiliency. The mother wasn't able to go back to work but did receive some income through the VA and Child Support. Her children are all in school now which gives the mom and opportunity to focus on her particular physical and emotional needs. 

Some times the chapters don't have a happy ending but keep on reading! 

Raise Up for 15
Raise Up for 15

Raise Up for 15 has gained the attention of two of our Genesis Home residents. It is also part of what they believe stability is all about - a living wage!

This past weekend two of our residents were selected to participate in an event for the Raise Up for 15 movement in Charlotte, North Carolina. The event was put on by the Southern Worker’s Organizing Committee (SWOC), a non–profit that works with employees to advocate for fair pay and increasing minimum wage. SWOC sponsored two Genesis Home families covering their expenses for travel, lodging and food. The two mothers, one a childcare worker and one a veteran, have been actively engaged in this movement in Durham and were excited to continue the work in Charlotte. The moms traveled down Friday with their kids. Saturday they participated in panel discussions, shared experiences with other workers, and discussed ways to answer questions and advocate for themselves in the workplace. During the event the kids were watched and fed by volunteers and everyone reports having a fun time, enjoying delicious food and being excited about the information shared and learned. Genesis Home is very proud of these families and all they are doing for workers’ rights in their community!

Dress for Success
Dress for Success

Each and every day, the perseverance and tenacity of the families here at Genesis Home is moving - each is dedicated to improving their situation and building a better life for their family. Families like Malinda and her two sons and three daughters. Just one year ago, Malinda was pregnant and seeking to regain custody of her four children. Her greatest desire was to bring her family back together again under one roof when she heard of Genesis Home. Genesis Home provided her with a place to reunite her family and the opportunity to rebuild her life in the Family Matters program.

Today Malinda is a graduate of the "Going Places Network" at Dress for Success and has secured part-time employment where she is in enrolled in a management training program. She has secured permanent housing for her family. She credits Genesis Home's financial literacy and life skills programming for helping her secure permanent housing, and her case manager for helping her set goals and stay focused. "My goal is not to end up back in this situation again; therefore I must make the change," said Malinda upon graduating from the program.

Like Malinda, the majority of Genesis Home families have multiple issues with which they are dealing.  Many of these issues stay with them after they leave the shelter.  Genesis Home is implementing a program to increase its support to families after they leave the shelther.  The Aftercare Program will provide case management services and volunteer support to move families into permanent, stable housing as quickly as possible with continued follow up support for up to one year to ensure housing retention. The role of the Aftercare case manager is to help families transition successfully to self-sufficiency in their own housing and to prevent returns to homelessness. We have been piloting new roles for volunteers as well. We believe the efficiency and effectiveness of the Aftercare model is heavily dependent on deploying our rich pool of talented, trained, and committed volunteers. Volunteers can provide a wide range of supportive services: from mentors who can assist with life skills development such as financial planning to Circles of Support volunteers who can provide practical and logistical support to families exiting the shelter system.  

In the first four months of 2015, ten families used our program at Genesis Home to move from homelessness to stability. Our new focus on moving families into housing as quickly as possible is helping us serve more families in need and ending the homelessness of more households than ever before.

Each and every day, the perseverance and tenacity of the families here at Genesis Home is moving - each is dedicated to improving their situation and building a better life for their family. Your gift helped families like Mr. Webb and his two sons. Mr. Webb came to us after a horrible car accident and subsequent loss of his job and home, a divorce, and a long battle to secure full custody of his boys. He states that the help he received from staff and the program at Genesis Home identifying outsides services for him and his family, housing search and referral for a personal assessment supported his journey to independence.

While here, his boys participated in tutoring and enrichment programs for youth. Mr. Webb completed the Peer Support Specialist Program. He received his certificate that will enable him to counsel other persons in recovery. Mr. Webb states, “This transition has empowered me to know and aspire for a better life for me and my boys.”

Genesis Home is working to help more families in need by reducing the length of shelter stays and getting our families into permanent housing as quickly as possible. With your help, we are making a difference in the lives of families like Mr. Webb.

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Organization Information

Families Moving Forward

Location: Durham,, NC - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.genesishome.org
Project Leader:
Robin Temple
Director of Development
Durham, NC United States

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