Come fly with us!
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Join us for the First in Flight Face-Off & Happy Hour on Tuesday May 8th from 5:30 to 7:30 at Trophy Tap and Table as we work to end homelessness in Wake County.  Each ticket buys you either one of your favorite Trophy Brews or a 3-selection flight to explore, as well as delicious appetizers from the Tap + Table kitchen. We’ll also hold a First In Flight paper airplane contest during the event. Have fun while you connect with other community members that want to make a difference! Register for tickets here: https://familiestogethernc.org/event-registration  and if you get them ahead of time you will save $5. Proceeds from this event benefit Families Together during our Hope Begins With a Home campaign.

Michael Hooker
When Architecture Turns Hostile
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This image is part of the reason that many cities around the world have adopted a new urban design many are calling "hostile architecture". This is when spaces are designed to discourage people from using them in a way not intended. Primarily this is aimed at skateboarders and the homeless preventing skaters from riding and homeless people from using benches to sleep. Most important is to keep people from camping out there. Seattle recently had backlash about placing bike racks under a bridge people used as camp, while a city in Germany used spikes to deal with the issue. 

Although the intention of the structures is to prevent loitering it could be more divisive according to urban designer Malcolm Mackay says in a recent ABC News article, "Its use, however, as an instrument for urban segregation — to separate those entitled to access public space from those deemed undesirable — is a growing phenomenon." 

This has sparked the debate of should cities focus on creating affordable housing instead of just preventing people from being able to see it.

 

FamiliesMichael Hooker
Thanks Crystal!
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Families Together has built relationships with many local non profit organizations. It is always fantastic to get positive feedback from them. Crystal Cruz is the Families Together intern from North Carolina State for the 2017-18 academic year. She has been a definite asset to our organization and we are truly proud of the way she represents us when she works with our partner organizations. She has been so awesome we received a message from our allies from Family Promise letting us know how much they appreciate her saying "I have had numerous people come and tell me how wonderful you intern Crystal is. Families have told me that she was very nice to them. Staff have told me that she has been wonderful to work with. I just thought I would let you know because I have heard it from so many people. We love all your staff and love working with you all. Thank you for all that you do for our families!". Thank you Crystal for your hard work and dedication to our mission of taking families from homelessness to home. 

 

FamiliesMichael Hooker
What Home Does
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A cancer diagnosis turned Vanessa and her daughter Jonte’s lives upside down and led to their homelessness. They stayed rent-free in the FT Short-Term Family Housing throughout Vanessa’s treatment. Jonte’ understandably fell behind and missed school while her mom was in the hospital. But she has made it up and then some. Today, they live in and hold the lease to their own two-bedroom apartment. Vanessa is cancer-free and Jonte’, a high school sophomore, recently made the Honor Roll!. Learn about the importance of home at https://familiestogethernc.org/hope/ #NoChildWithoutAHome#HopeBeginsWithAHome

FamiliesMichael Hooker
Meet the Families Together Mentor Advocates

Our goal this year at Families Together is to house 80 families with children and to provide ongoing support to another 100+ families after they are housed. Ok, sounds great, but you might wonder how the Families Together (FT) model works? Here's a snapshot of the critical linchpin to the success of our model -- the FT Mentor Advocates.

Our Mentor Advocates (MA) are dedicated professionals with a unique passion to serve our mission to move families from homelessness to home. The team of four puts each family at the center of our work. They help families obtain permanent housing and then deliver effective, ongoing services for up to a year past the move-in date to help them achieve stability. Our amazing Mentor Advocates are Karen Lassiter, Emily Archer, Harriett Reynolds and they will soon be joined by Jasmine Dulin who will be the newest member of our staff.

After being referred by a partner shelter to Families Together, each family is assessed to make sure they are a good fit for FT's services. Once enrolled, each family is assigned to a Housing Navigator MA who works with the family to develop their own plan to meet the family's goals for housing, and to address the root causes of their homelessness, as well as physical and behavioral health issues, employment, and education. Housing Navigator MA Karen's role is to secure safe, affordable housing that the family can sustain for the long-term. She builds relationships with landlords and property management companies that have a special commitment to making our community better for all. While networking, partnering and negotiating with the landlords, Karen and the family work side-by-side to find a welcoming place that they can call home. Karen says, "I enjoy seeing hope reinstated into the people we serve." 

After securing a permanent home, each family begins working with one of our Housing Stabilization MAs Emily and Harriett. They provide crucial support to families for the next year by coaching them through day-to-day challenges, helping set and monitor monthly budgets, and connecting to community resources for things such as food, clothing, furniture, transportation, childcare and mental health counseling. "We fill the gaps for families who are newly housed," says Harriet. 

Families Together's Mentor Advocates are on the front line in the battle against childhood homelessness in our community. In addition to their one-on-one work with each family, the Mentor Advocate team provides twice monthly workshops on topics such as financial literacy, landlord/tenant rights and responsibilities and self care. Emily says, "Our goal is to get each family back to independence, and we are so happy for them when they do!"

Thank you Karen, Emily, and Harriett for your dedication to making the dream of home a reality for so many hard-working families in our community.

FamiliesMichael Hooker
Join the Mission!
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Please don’t miss this opportunity to give children in your community a safe place to sleep and a chance to thrive.Your donation to Families Together Hope Begins With A Home matching campaign. Your support will provide a family with access to safe, affordable housing and temporary rental and utilities assistance to get the family started.They'll receive one-on-one counselling, connections to community resources, and life skills workshops to empower their self-sufficiency.You, through your support of FT, are the best hope for families with children that otherwise would fall through gaps in the safety net. To get involved in our mission of taking families from homelessness to home visit https://familiestogethernc.org/hope/. 

Gifts of any amount are needed and very much appreciated.

You’ll change a life for the better when you give. 

Thank you!

FamiliesMichael Hooker
Sasha
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Sasha was in her 7th grade class when her mother suddenly pulled her out. The car was packed and her two sisters were inside. Her father’s violent outbursts had gotten worse at home and Sasha worried it would come to this. Her mom had grabbed what belongings she could and they were leaving that day for good. Approximately 25% of the families served by Families Together are fleeing domestic violence situations.  FT partners with a local domestic violence shelter to move women and children into safe affordable housing that they can sustain. Sasha is now on the college track in high school and dreams of being a surgeon one day.  

Home has a direct correlation to education. Studies show that academic performance, school attendance, and high school graduation rates go up when children have a home.  Education is a key element in a child breaking the cycle of homelessness. Unfortunately the Wake County Public School System is reporting a %27 rise in homeless students in just the past two years. Your support will help students experiencing homelessness get into a safe, affordable home and change a child's life forever!

Learn more about the affects of home on children here: https://familiestogethernc.org/hope/

Michael Hooker
Hope Begins With a Home
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The face of homelessness in Wake County might surprise you. The Wake County school system reports a stunning 56% increase in homeless students since 2010. What's worse, student homelessness is increasing more rapidly with a 27% rise in just two years.

Families Together is the critical link to home for hundreds of families experiencing homelessness in our community every year. We provide access to safe, affordable housing and offer temporary rental and utilities assistance to get the family started. We don't get them through the door. We check in and check up for a year with one-on-one counselling, connections to community resources, financial literacy training, and the life skill workshops to empower their self-sufficiency. Last year we moved 80 families from homelessness to home and provided an additional 100 families with ongoing support after being housed. We're proud to note that 8 out of 10 families successfully graduate from Families Together.

We believe that every family deserves a home and children should never have to wonder where they're going to sleep at night. Through partnerships with individuals, churches, and other organizations are the best hope for families that otherwise fall through the gaps. If you would you like help break the cycle of homelessness visit our donate page and change the life of a child in our community

 

FamiliesMichael Hooker
So Random
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It is always great when someone joins a cause for the betterment of their community. Whether it's doing something for someone else like food delivery to the elderly or something for the community like adopting a highway are fantastic, but they are usually planned in advanced. February 17 was National Random Acts of Kindness day and sometimes being random can make an even bigger impact on people.

Musician Drake debuted the video "God's Plan" on National Random Acts of Kindness day chronicling him taking close to a million dollars and giving it away to a variety of people. He randomly met families and gave them thousands of dollars , and walking into a grocery store paying for everyone's groceries. Drake is an exception because a lot of us can't get a millions dollars to give away, but there are so many smaller things that can be randomly done.

One of the best ways to find opportunities for a random act of kindness is to look at your normal activities. Visiting vending machines, restaurants, paying for parking are all things that gives you the opportunity to pass along a act of kindness. When you visit the vending machine leave money in it for the person behind you, paying for the car behind you in the drive through, or leaving money in the meter are just a few examples of how you can pass along a blessing that won't break the bank. 

FamiliesMichael Hooker
Volunteering beneficial to Volunteers
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When we volunteer it is for the betterment of others. Whether it's delivering a meal to an elderly person or cleaning a park for all to enjoy volunteering improves the community overall. One thing that is looked over are the benefits they provide the volunteer. Recent studies show there are benefits for people who volunteer mentally and physically. 

When a person volunteers they provide themselves with a critical connection with others that we need to survive. That is why in the face of a disaster people come together help others heal and move forward. Having this connection with others helps people with mental illnesses like depression. This has been reported for people who volunteer from teens to the elderly.

Another benefit of volunteering is that it gives people the opportunity to be more physically active. These activities could lead to lower blood pressure and other issues related to heart disease. That could lead to adding years to a volunteers life.

     

FamiliesMichael Hooker