Families Together Honored
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Families Together Honored

Last month GlaxoSmithKline recognized Families Together along with nine other organizations with the Impact award for building a healthier community. We are so honored to have our mission of moving families from homelessness to home recognized.

We work tirelessly to combat child homelessness in our community and were able to serve 454 children this year. The ceremony was held on November 16 at GSK in the Sir Paul Girolami Research center in Research Triangle Park where along with the award we received a check for $40,000! Then on #GivingTuesday we were informed the GSK employees voted for Families Together to win an additional $10,000 after watching this video.

We are extremely honored for the accolades, but none of this would have been possible if it were not for all of our allies who have joined us in facing the fact that more and more the face of homelessness is that of a child. Thank you to all the board members, donors, churches, corporations, and volunteers for your contributions. This awards is a reflection of everything you do and belongs to you as much as it does to us.  

You can check out our fellow winners Facebook pages by clicking their name:
Communities In Schools of Wake County
CEF: Community Empowerment Fund
DHIC, Inc.
Diaper Bank of North Carolina
Empowerment, Inc
Orange County Partnership for Young Children
Partners for Youth Opportunity
Reinvestment Partners
Student Action with Farmworkers 

Michael Hooker
Give Thanks
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It’s Thanksgiving and it’s time for football, family, and food (oooh the food!). Also, Thanksgiving is for people to reflect and give thanks for the things they are grateful for. In the spirit of that we are going to share with you some things that we are grateful for here at Families Together, like the service provided to families this year, and for all of the people who are involved in our mission.

Our mission is to take families with children from homelessness to home. Families Together follows national Best Practices for the Housing First model with a children first focus. Our work is designed to reduce the number of nights a child is homeless by first helping the family get into a safe, affordable home and then wrapping them with the intensive coaching and supportive services they need to become self-sufficient and break the cycle of homelessness. We are so thankful that 206 families were impacted this year, with the goal of increasing this number next year.

With so many families being served, the support from the amazing people who are allies in our battle against homelessness. The volunteers who give their time and their talent increase our impact on the families we serve. Also, we could not achieve our mission without wonderful civic-minded businesses who have joined Families Together in our campaign to give children a brighter future and make our community better for all. Having dedicated partner churches that have rich histories and are commitment to community service as a key partner to Families Together, means so much to our work and the families we serve.  We are thankful for your support as it is motivation to continue to ensure no child will have to worry about where they will sleep at night.

Michael Hooker
Making an Impact!
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People providing resources to people in need goes back to the earliest times of our nation. Throughout our organizations history volunteering has been a mainstay for us to get things done.  Families Together is fortunate to have people who want to positively impact the lives of people in need. Our volunteers range from individual people to corporate organizations providing time and effort to help us further our mission of taking families from homelessness to home.

If we were to list all of the things that we lean on our volunteers for, this blog would take all day to read. We are going to start with Tim Hiteshew who came with a team and finished building benches and cubbies for our units that families have and will find very useful.  He also is our resident grounds keeper putting in many hours in the elements to keep our grounds looking great. We also have three awesome ladies representing St. Philip Lutheran Church, Sally Bowman, Stacey Carstens Bell, and Sandy Glass – go above and beyond for families experiencing homelessness by using their “elbow grease” to clean our Short-Term Family Housing apartment units after families move on to a better future in a permanent home in the community.  With smiling faces and tons of enthusiasm, they come often at a moment’s notice to get the units ready for a new family to move in. We are so appreciative to have them as part of our family.

There are plenty of ways that you can join in our mission. First, you can becoming a Social Media Ambassador and increase awareness about the face of homelessness increasingly being the face of a child. Urge your followers to join our cause. Also, you can connect us to landlords in the community who want to make a difference. We need advocates to support affordable housing initiatives and urge local decision makers to create policies that make our community better for all. Finally, make a donation for matching funds.  Your $50 becomes $100 and gives a child their first four nights in a safe, stable home. If you would like to join the mission of taking families from homelessness to independence contact Meghan Olesen at Meghan@familiestogethernc.org

Raleigh's Rising Crisis
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Raleigh continues to be ranked as one of the best cities to live in the country.  In 2015 Raleigh’s population grew over 2% making it the ninth fastest growing city in the country (Forbes). You probably have felt the growth from the construction sites adding time to your commute. Like many other growing cities Raleigh is faced with the issue of having a lack of affordable housing.

A recent editorial in the News & Observer said “The amount of affordable housing in and around downtown Raleigh and elsewhere in Wake County is declining as real estate values rise thanks to a flood of global investment dollars. Fewer traditional starter homes are being built, and affordable rental projects are being redeveloped to target higher income tenants.” The N&O also stated “Absent adequate affordable housing, those who make a city or a county go – police, firefighters, municipal workers, college students, public school teachers – can’t afford to live in that city.”

Without affordable housing available many families will be at risk of cycling in between homelessness, emergency and institutional systems. Executive Director of Families Together Lisa Rowe stated in an N&O Op-ed piece “According to recent data from the Wake County Public School System, the number of homeless children and youth in our school system has increased a mind-numbing 56 percent in the past seven years. Additionally, the numbers are increasing more rapidly – a whopping 27 percent in the past two years.”

This why we need you! Together we can face the issue of child homelessness, and give them the opportunity to thrive.

When you give today the Stewards Fund will match your donation making your impact even greater! Your $50 donation becomes $100; your $100 donation becomes $200 and so on. WHAT A DIFFERENCE YOU CAN MAKE IN THE LIFE OF A CHILD!

 
Michael Hooker
Tim's Story
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It was the middle of the summer and Tim and his family were returning to their motel room after a day out. His mom inserted her key and nothing happened. They couldn't afford another night, so the manager had locked them out with their belongings still inside.  With nowhere to go Tim, his mom, and five siblings were left to roam the city until they settled in a public laundromat where they spent the night. 

With the temperature reaching 100 degrees, Tim and his family walked to the Families Together office looking for assistance. Fortunately, we had an apartment available and our team could act quickly to get them in our program. We moved Tim and his family into a safe, temporary home at Families Together that very day. Tim now has a warm bed to sleep in and a playground where he can run and have fun. He also participates in our After School program where he gets help with homework and enjoys fun activities like making smoothies. His mother has benefited as well. She is now consistently working with the goal of getting her family back to independence. 

Stories like this are the motivation behind the 2017 Let’s Face It Fall Campaign. You can give our community’s children a place to call home and an opportunity to thrive. Join us!

When you give today the Stewards Fund will match your donation making your impact even greater! Your $50 donation becomes $100; your $100 donation becomes $200 and so on. WHAT A DIFFERENCE YOU CAN MAKE IN THE LIFE OF A CHILD!

FamiliesMichael Hooker
AFTER SCHOOL JAM
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If you're looking for a rewarding ongoing volunteer opportunity where you can make a difference in a child’s day our After School Enrichment Program is for you!  Our Child Mentor Superheroes help children staying in our Short-Term Family Housing apartments (STFH) with homework and provide activities that encourage independence and self- expression.

This is a rewarding opportunity where you can watch a child grow and thrive!  

This opportunity is available every week on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 4:00-5:30pm.  More days may be added based on volunteer commitment.  Occupancy is unpredictable in our Short-Term Family Housing and volunteers must be flexible with varying age groups and levels of participation.  Volunteers must complete our orientation and have all required documentation on file including a background check before they can start volunteering.

 

 

 
SOCIAL MEDIA AMBASSADORS
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Are you looking for an opportunity to serve that works around your busy schedule?  Maybe you're a teen looking to make an impact, but it can be hard to schedule in the face time.  If this describes your interests, we have an opportunity for you!

The face of homelessness in Wake County is increasingly the face of a child. Student homelessness has risen 56% since 2010 resulting in an estimated 5,000 children going homeless this year. Your mission (if you accept) will be to raise awareness about this important issue and inspire action by liking, sharing, and commenting on social media content on Families Together’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram platforms. To accept, complete the form below. We'd love to welcome you as a Social Media Ambassador for children in need of a home.
 

Name *
Name
Address *
Address
Phone *
Phone
SUPPLY DRIVES
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DRIVING TOWARDS INDEPENDeNCE

Families Together has two ongoing supply drives throughout the year.  Our Welcome Basket program and our Supportive Assistance Food Pantry.  

Welcome Baskets

Many people do not know that food stamp benefits cannot be used for essential items such as, shampoo, cleaning supplies, toiletries (including toilet paper) and laundry soap.  For families living at extremely low income levels, sometimes these items don't make it into the monthly budget.  Not having access to these supplies can lead to unclean homes, bodies and clothes which can contribute to poor health and increase the isolation that homelessness often brings.

In order to support families and celebrate their achievement in signing a new lease, we present all families a Welcome Basket when they move into their new place.  Each Welcome Basket is filled with everything the family will need to start off their road to independence clean and healthy!  

In order to meet this need, we depend on Volunteers like you to organize supply drives in your community.  It can be a box at your church or letters to your neighbors asking them to help, get creative and challenge yourself to fill the car with supplies for families in need!  To download a shopping guide, please click the button below.

 
 
 
 

Food Pantry

Even with monthly food assistance, we often see families that need help bridging the gap.  Often time there are delays in receiving benefits, or the assistance couldn't make it to the end of the month. Sometimes, a family just needs a place to start as they get settled into their new space. In order to support families in our program we maintain a small food pantry.  We keep very specific items so that we can insure that families will receive healthy and balanced staples from us.  

Volunteers in the community that help us to collect these items ensure that families and their children in our program will never go hungry.  Being able to lift that stressor from parents, helps them to focus on making life changes to help their family gain independence.  

If you are interested in collecting items for our food panty, please download the shopping list below.  

 
 
 

Items that we are constantly low on are, breakfast cereals/pancake mix, canned tomatoes, canned tuna/chicken, canned fruits, powdered milk, peanut butter and health snacks to go.

 
Keys to a New Home!
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What a difference a year makes!  Last December the unthinkable happened to Nannette and her five-year-old daughter, Neriah when a mix-up with their housing voucher left them homeless. On Christmas Eve, they slept in bunk beds in a crowded shelter with 30 strangers. Nannette has cerebral palsy and walks with a cane but she worried most about her daughter. Neriah is shy. She missed her own room and felt bullied by the older kids. So Nannette did everything she could to keep her daughter safe and focused on school.

Things began to change for the better when Nannette was connected to Families Together and met Corey, her Mentor Advocate. Corey helped Nannette navigate a daunting system while the clock was ticking to use or lose her housing voucher. It took 200 calls to landlords and an extension from the housing authority to find someone who would accept the voucher. Nannette says,

If it wasn’t for Families Together, we would still be in the shelter. Corey is a blessing. She put our best interests first and helped me give my daughter a home.”

Nannette and Neriah moved into their own place in October. Neriah is happy and excelling in school. They look forward to celebrating a simple Christmas at home. Nannette says, “Being appreciative is all I need.” She sends her humble gratitude to everyone at Families Together for making the gift of a home possible.

Donations to Families Together between now and the end of December are being matched. Learn more here.

FamiliesJennifer Paul
New Website!
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We've revamped our website and are excited to share it with you! This is a completely new look for the site with beautiful pictures of some of the children and families we serve, as well as some pretty snazzy head shots of our staff team. The photographs, the content and the web design were done completely by our staff team in keeping with our commitment to put your donations where they are needed most - helping children and families affected by homelessness.

Our goal is to provide you with accessible information that's easy to read and easy to locate. We hope you'll find this makes for more enjoyable browsing experience.

The content will be changing with regular updates to our blog so please come back often. For now, you might want to check out Our ModelOur Impact and Success Stories.

Now is an exciting time. While the challenges we face are significant, we hope you share our optimism about the future and the potential to expand our impact and serve more families in need. Please feel free to reach out to us any time with questions, as well as feedback on our new website. We look forward to continuing our partnership. Together, we will continue to work for a community where all children and their families have a place to call home.

FamiliesMeghan Olesen