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.
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.
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.
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.
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 year’s highest fundraiser. She brought in over $50,000 including bringing in one of the biggest donations during the final week. She really sprinted through the finish line and we appreciate her for it. Thanks again Judy!
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.
Spoiled.com 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 Spoiled.com 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?
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 speaker was artist Noah Scalin who gave us a glimpse into his creative process. Inspired by his skull artwork he challenged everyone to create 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 does home mean to you? Here is what home means to Kathleen, Deanna, and Shindira as they describe their experiences with Families Together.
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.
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.