Campaign Success!

The 2018 Hope Begins With a Home annual spring campaign was a huge success because of the fantastic work of our staff and board. The hard work really paid off as they exceeded our goal of $240,000! They reached out in all directions to garner contributions supporting our mission of taking families from homelessness to home.

We want to thank Lisa Walker and Trophy Tap+Table for hosting the super fun FIrst In Flight Face-Off Happy Hour. It was a great time and congratulations to Ken Jacobson for being the first Baron of the Skies! Also, a huge thank you to Carol Puente and Skin and Cosmetic Solutions for hosting an open house and to Susanna Birdsong for getting the campaign started with her party. 

We want to recognize Judy Keyes for being this years highest fundraiser. She brought in over $50,000 including bringing in one of the biggest donations durinig the final week. She really sprinted through the finish line and we appreciate her for it. Thanks again Judy!



Michael Hooker
Gentrification:Pros and Cons

Merriam-Webster defines gentrification as the process of renewal and rebuilding accompanying the influx of middle-class or affluent people into deteriorating areas that often displaces poorer residents. There are North Carolina cities that have been going through this process over the past few years. The News and Observer recently did a story about Rosemary and John Abram and how gentrification in Durham has impacted them.

With every story having two sides we are going to list some of the pros and cons of gentrification. defined some pros for gentrification as "The new, shiny buildings create an upscale look to these neighborhoods", and also "Public safety is getting better. You won’t see anything traumatizing happening outside your favorite quaint brick-oven pizzeria." Atkinson and Bridge did a study pointing out other pros like "unoccupied houses become occupied and reduction of vacant homes Increase in local fiscal revenues". Also, "decreased crime rates and the reduction of suburban sprawl."

On the other hand has pointed to public safety getting better but not for the Black and Latino communities. "The PD keeps these gentrified neighborhoods clean by criminalizing and removing Black and Latino (predominately young males) from these upgraded areas." While Atkison and Bridge points to "affordable housing in the area becomes scarce… and eventually non-existent".

The debate of is gentrification good or bad will continue on as new developments are being built to improve neighbors while pushing former residents out. How do you feel about gentrification? 









Creating Good
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What do you see in the picture? Not that there is a wrong answer but the creators of this work of art hope you see a face. Development team members Meghan and Michael attended the Create Good Conference held in Durham by the BC/DC Ideas.

On day two the keynote speakder was artist Noah Scalin who gave us a glimpse into his creative process. Inspired by his skull artwork he challenged everyone to creat a face with the items that they handy to them at that moment. Oh, and he only gave about 2 minutes get it done. With a bag, business cards, keys and a phone charger this is what Michael and Meghan created, they are proud of their work.

Attending this conference gave Michael and Meghan insights, strategies and tactics that create successful campaigns and movements. They got valuable information straight from fellow nonprofit communications professionals. Now they're inspired to fight harder for our mission! 

What Home Means
Families Together provides the critical link to home for hundreds of families in our community every year. With child homelessness in Wake County up 30% since 2009, our mission is more urgent than ever before.

What does home mean to you? Here is what home means to Kathleen, Deanna, and Shindira as they describe their experiences with Families Together.

FamiliesMichael Hooker
Come fly with us!

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:  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.

FamiliesMichael Hooker
When Architecture Turns Hostile

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 #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!

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 

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