Walk a mile: Homelessness affecting local families

Published 1:47 pm Tuesday, January 23, 2024

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By Jeanna Baxter White

Word Master Media Group

The pair of shoes in the Family Promise Family Center living room belongs to a working dad in the shelter program who didn’t want to track dirt throughout the house.

To Family Promise of Davie County (FPDC), this is so much more than just a pair of shoes by the fireplace.

“These shoes represent the reality that you can work full-time and still experience homelessness,” said Lisa Reynolds, executive director. “They represent the hard work it takes for a family to get back into stable housing. They represent the strength needed to continue putting one foot in front of the other to build a better life. They represent a pathway to a different future.”

FPDC serves families with minor children who are at risk of or already experiencing homelessness. It provides prevention services before families reach crisis, temporary shelter for those experiencing homelessness, and supportive services along the way.

Since opening its doors in September 2017, FPDC has served 611 families and helped to prevent 877 episodes of homelessness.

The numbers don’t end there:

• 938 children served;

• 91% of families enrolled in the shelter program graduate and obtain independent housing;

• 94% of those families are still housed one year later;

• 68% of families served are single mothers; and

• 131 days on average in shelter and transitional housing.

“Over the past couple of years, we’ve seen a decrease in the availability of affordable housing and an increase in the length of time families are in our shelter program. As home-like and welcoming as our shelter space is, it’s still challenging for families, especially children, to share space with other families and our staff long-term,” said Reynolds.

“Once families in our shelter have achieved some of their initial goals, they can move into a transitional housing unit while they wait for permanent, independent housing.

‘Families in transitional housing continue to work with our case manager and receive supportive services. FPDC’s transitional housing units are single-family homes, so they don’t have to share space with anyone else. This provides a stepping stone from experiencing homelessness to being permanently housed.

“It gives families a sense of normalcy, privacy, and independence, just like we all desire,” she said.

The organization’s ability to assist families is possible because of donations from businesses, congregations, foundations, and individuals.

“The work we are doing is making lasting changes for Davie County families,” Reynolds said.

Family Promise has always been a community-wide effort from local churches dropping off meals to businesses that give financially to partnering with other local nonprofits.

“We would not be where we are today without the support of so many,” Reynolds said.

On Nov. 16, FPDC received a grant from Davie County Pearls of Empowerment during its annual women’s luncheon. Established in 2009, Pears of is a giving circle of women seeking to improve the lives of women and children in Davie County. By pooling annual contributions, grants are funded.

While accepting the check, Reynolds shared the story of a family moving from the shelter program into a transitional housing unit.

This single mother and her three children had been in the shelter since July, so this was a huge step toward permanent housing. The week after moving into transitional housing, they returned to the office and shelter space to pick up a few of their belongings.

“Susie (not her real name), a 4 year old in this family, came into my office, and with all the excitement a 4 year old could muster, said, ‘Mrs. Lisa, Mrs. Lisa, did you know I don’t live here anymore? I have a house now.’ Having a house is something that many children take for granted, but it’s the one thing that Susie couldn’t wait to tell me about.

“A child’s future begins at home, and you are giving them that foundation. On behalf of all the Susies that we have served and will continue to serve, thank you.”

FPDC’s staff and board of trustees announceD that “A Promise of Christmas,” the organization’s annual fundraiser, exceeded its goal.

“Thanks to everyone who participated, we exceeded our event fundraising goal and are so grateful,” said Reynolds. “This event is always so festive and fun, and we hope to have an even larger crowd next year.”

“Special thank you to the Farm at Oak Hill for hosting us, A Full Measure Catering for feeding us, and The Swicegood Group for managing our auctions. We are also grateful to everyone who donated auction items or sponsored our event.”

The following is a list of contributors.

Family Foundation

Liberty Sheds

Family Circle

Fuller Welding & Fabricators

Dr. Joel and Beth Edwards

Mebane Foundation

Dr. Richard

and Elaine Williams

Family Advocate

Davie Medical Center

Meg Brown Home Furnishing

Woodmen of the World Life Insurance

Wendy and Carlton Terry

Dean and Paula Allen

Adam Blake Properties

Family Ally

Davie County Farm Bureau

Lake Phelps Grain

Vulcan Materials Company

Trailers of the East Coast

Garage Doors of the Triad

Don and Wanda Bowles

Mocksville Lions Club

Charles and Patsy Crenshaw

Johnson Insurance

State Farm Darryl Bandy

Deano’s Barbecue

Spurgeon and Sherry Foster

Webb Heating & Air

Ed and Debbie Vogler

Tom and Carolyn Beaver

Family Friend

CKJ Building & Design

Eaton Funeral Service

Miller Building & Remodeling

W.C. Construction Co.

Allen Geomatics

Carolina Center for Eye Care

Mays Realty

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“Despite these generous contributions, the need in Davie County is still great,” Reynolds said. “Your gift today offers families facing homelessness the promise of home. Family Promise is the leading national nonprofit addressing family homelessness, providing homelessness prevention, emergency shelter, workforce development, education, financial capability, health and wellness, and so much more”

Give online at https://www.familypromisedc.org/donate; or mail a check to Family Promise of Davie County at PO Box 1536 Mocksville, NC 27028.