Spreading the Holiday Cheer!
 Holiday Smiles Program

Holiday Smiles Program

The Holidays can be one of the hardest times of the year for families experiencing homelessness.  A time that should be happy and bright can bring stress and sadness as families work to get back on their feet...YOU can help bring the cheer back to the season!

Our Holiday Smiles Program is unique from other programs in the community in that your holiday gifts will go directly to the family you're matched with.  When you shop, the wishes you are fulfilling are truly the wishes of the individuals we serve. As a sponsor you will receive a holiday gift wish list with first names, ages, favorite colors, clothing sizes, etc.  You decide on the number of families, the size and even the amount you want to spend.  The Families Together Staff will be available to support you as you work to fulfill wishes. This is a rewarding opportunity to do as a family or as a group effort in your community.

Michael Hooker
Let's Face It 2019
 https://familiestogethernc.org/lets-face-it/

https://familiestogethernc.org/lets-face-it/

At 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. Taking into account infants and young children that are not yet in school, a total of 5,000 children will go homeless in Wake County this year.  Your support is critical to our mission of taking families from homelessness to home.  

You through your donations are the best hope for children that would otherwise fall through gaps in the safety net. Take a look at the impact you made on the lives of families experiencing homelessness last year:

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Ultimately, you’ll help break the cycle of homelessness, build family cohesion, and give children the hope that begins with a home.

FamiliesMichael Hooker
Protecting Your Loved Ones
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You may have heard about planned giving, but are not familiar with the benefits. A planned gift is really quite easy - it involves some planning that helps both you and our mission. We’re excited to announce that Families Together has launched a new Planned Giving website.

Do you own an IRA or other qualified retirement plan? Are you looking for a tax-wise strategy to make gifts to support our mission? Our new website is a great information resource with planning tools, videos, and stories to help you create a legacy of hope and opportunity.

You would leave a legacy of hope and opportunity and take advantage of many tax benefits of making a gift! What are the benefits of making a bequest? Get practical information for you and your family. Planning tools and helpful information can be found here: http://ftlegacy.org/?pageID=166

FamiliesMichael Hooker
SNAP: Harder to Get, Easier to Lose
 New requirements could make it harder for people to receive benefits

New requirements could make it harder for people to receive benefits

Many families served by FT receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits. Unfortunately there are misconceptions about recipients of safety-net programs as being unemployed people living on the government’s dime. Approximately 85% of the families we serve are headed by someone who is employed, which matches the national average of SNAP recipients.  FT Mentor Advocate Amelia currently is serving 28 cases, 25 cases have jobs and 2 are permanently disabled. Olivia Paschal of The Atlantic points out that the “maximum per-meal value of food stamps is a paltry $1.86—which isn’t enough to cover the cost of an entire meal almost anywhere in the country.”

The current Farm Bill is set to expire on Sept 30, 2018. One of the more contentious parts of the bill are the proposed stricter work requirements on people to receive benefits. Pascal explains the proposed requirements as, "dramatically increases the need to work, requiring almost anyone receiving snap benefits, including people with children above the age of 6 and all “able-bodied” adults under the age of 60, to work or participate in job training for at least 20 hours a week. Failure to do so (or failure to report to work- or job-training hours) just once, and they’d lose benefits for a full year. Two strikes, and the penalty increases to three years of lost benefits unless they comply with the requirements or receive an exemption."

The aim is to cut funding for food stamps by more than $213 billion, or nearly 30%, over the next decade. Currently the Farm Bill has requirements of able-bodied people under the age of 60 have been required by law to work part-time or participate in job-training programs to receive snap benefits since the program was created in 1996. Requirements are even stricter for people under the age of 50 without children or other dependents, who can receive only three months of benefits in a three-year period if they don’t work at least 80 hours a month, and can be disqualified from benefits for up to six months if they don’t meet one of several other more stringent requirements.  Hopefully the misconceptions are not driving the proposed changes.

FamiliesMichael Hooker
Calling all North Carolina state employees!
 http://www.ncsecc.org/

http://www.ncsecc.org/

For over 35 years the North Carolina State Employee Combined Campaign has provided state employees and retirees an opportunity and choice in directing their contributions to charitable organizations through a uniform and systematic process.  We are extremely excited to have been selected as one of the organizations to be a part of the 2018 campaign running through November. 

The campaign assures state employees and retirees continuous opportunity to support charitable organizations that are accountable, fiscally sound, and committed to improving the quality of life in our state, nation and the world. We encourage current and past state employees to join our mission of taking families from homelessness to home.

November will be here before you know it, please visit the SECC website to set up your contributions now. We hope you will consider designating PLM Families Together. Our SECC code is 3957.

 

FamiliesMichael Hooker
Supply "Store" Opens
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Each summer we hold a backpack and school supply drive for the children who are currently in our program, and those who arrive throughout the year. We believe that every kid should get the opportunity to experience the excitement of choosing their supplies. August 16-18 our school supply "store" will be open! We believe that every kid should get the opportunity to experience the excitement of choosing their supplies.  That's why we set up the "School Store" where families and kids to "shop" for their needed supplies. In order to provide this opportunity we need both donations of supplies and volunteers to staff the store. We need backpacks and supplies for the full range of age groups. Please contact Meghan Olesen Community Engagement Coordinator at Meghan@familiestogethernc.org or (919)307-1892 if you have any further questions.

FamiliesMichael Hooker
Ride App Launch
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For families experiencing homelessness, transportation is a major obstacle to getting to jobs, medical appointments, and grocery stores. We’re introducing a unique way you can help alleviate that. Families Together has started the Ride Together program for people we serve to get to that important job interview or that critical doctor’s appointment. Would you be willing to provide a lift on occasion? By volunteering, you can be the difference in families getting to potentially life-changing destinations. If you are interested in learning more, please visit here or contact Community Engagement Coordinator Meghan Olesen at Meghan@familiestogethernc.org or (919)307-1892.

FamiliesMichael Hooker
The Road Home
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We love sharing stories of families who have successfully traveled the hard road from homelessness to home. Although we love all our stories, Reshena's is a special one.

Reshena and her family were referred to us while they were living in a hotel. It was her, her husband, and three sons (two with special needs). With the help of her Mentor Advocate and supporters like you, Reshena and her family were able to find housing. Unlike many of our clients whose obstacles lessen when they are housed, Reshena's problems seemed to increase.

Within a short period of time she split from her husband and lost her job. With the biggest blow coming when renovations from a flood caused their living situation to become unbearable and working with the landlord became very difficult. But Reshena's resolve would not let her and her family fall back into homelessness.

With encouragement and coaching from her FT Mentor Advocate, she reached out to the City of Raleigh where they determined the home to be uninhabitable and recommended that she move immediately. With the help of legal aid Reshena was able to work out a settlement with the landlord, and she and her family moved into a much nicer home.

While dealing with her new housing crisis Reshena entered into electrocardiogram school. Families Together was to able pay for her tuition, books, and exam fees with funds from an amazing donation from BB&T. She walked to the library whenever she needed to study, until her Mentor Advocate reached out to The Kramden Institute and was provided her own computer!

Even while dealing with the challenges of her living situation Reshena maintained a 99% average in school. On June 26 she passed her national exam and plans on applying to local medical centers immediately.

We are so proud of Reshena and how she never gave up! She faced her challenges and came out the other side better and stronger, and we are glad to have been a part of her success.

FamiliesMichael Hooker
Fill the Gap 2018
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The focus of our mission is to take families who are experiencing homelessness and get them home. While doing so we try to give them the tools needed to better handle situations and not fall back into homelessness. Even with the support of an organization like us there are still some issues for some families that we are resolve them. We are now trying to bridge the gap that families have regarding food, supplies and transportation.

The majority of our families fall below the poverty line, which is the estimated minimum level of income needed to secure the necessities of life. When you’re spending upwards of %50 of your income on rent getting a balanced meal can get pushed to the back burners. We are now expanding our pantry to be able to provide food for families whenever they need. Such as providing meals during summer vacation for their kids. Also, our pantry will provide critical supplies such as soap, shampoo, toothbrushes, etc.

Another gap that many of the parents face is getting adequate schools supplies for students. Families Together runs an annual school supply drive that gives children one less challenge to face while trying to learn. 

Lastly, transportation is one of the biggest challenges that people who are coming out of homelessness face. WRAL recently ran a piece about our new Ride Together app. This will connect families to volunteers who can give them a ride to critical appointments. If you would like to get involved visit the volunteer section of our website.

 

 

Feeling the Love
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We always stress the importance of our allies and the how their hard work and dedication allows us to have the greatest impact on families in our communities. As of this writing we are in the middle of a fantastic outreach program from Elevation Church (RDU).

Love Week is a huge outreach event for Elevation that will serve 300 organizations from June 23-30. They will be serving organizations such as Urban Ministries, The Girl Scouts, and Families Together. We are lucky enough to have two events that the Elevation faithful will provide for us on back to back Saturdays onsite.

On June 23rd they brought two crews of volunteers to do much needed sprucing up of our grounds. They stained the stairs to our aparments, erected our basketball goal, and planted new plants are just a few of things they accomplished. 

The following on June 30th they will host our biggest celebration of year as we will hold a graduation for families that have completed our program. They will bring food and activities right here on our grounds and we are so grateful to have them. 

FamiliesMichael Hooker