Written by Amy Andrews
Charlotte Family Housing challenges just about every preconceived notion you might have about a shelter.
They are the only nonprofit in the Charlotte area that keeps the whole family together – children, mothers and fathers – in fresh, bright, dignified spaces with an empowerment model that is central to their existence.
What does that mean? In order to qualify for shelter, parents must be employed and work with Charlotte Family Housing staff to create a budget, save a portion of their income and attend classes about financial literacy. For families with parents who are often working more than one job and still struggling to make ends meet, Charlotte Family Housing provides a much-needed path to self-sufficiency.
After residency, Charlotte Family Housing works with families to identify affordable housing (in more than 21 Charlotte zip codes) as well providing a housing subsidy for two years to ease the transition to financial independence. Charlotte Family Housing’s unique approach boasts a 99% success rate of financial independence for two to four years after engagement.
Education is central to the Charlotte Family Housing model not only for parents, but also for children. Charlotte Family Housing holds classes to empower this second generation with information about financial literacy. They also partner with multiple resources in the Charlotte area, including CPCC and a Child’s Place to encourage success in school and an excitement about learning.
Charlotte Family Housing further empowers families with a token economy, meaning they receive points for chores and personal investments in their future that can be redeemed for goods (such as kitchen items) and services for their path forward.
Lisa Bradford, Chief Development Officer for Charlotte Family Housing emphasizes the importance of dignity in their approach. Adding, “Charlotte Family Housing is about empowerment and not enabling.”
Charlotte Family Housing can accommodate up to twenty-five families at any one time. They are frequently at capacity or on a wait-list with over 75-100 phone inquiries coming in daily. Last year alone, Charlotte Family Housing served over 248 families with over 500 children.
At this point, Charlotte Family Housing relies solely on grants, faith-based organization support and individuals for funding. Donations are always welcome, but there are numerous ways you can support Charlotte Family Housing. Relational volunteers can help with everything from providing dinner for families, tutoring or even on-site babysitting so that parents can attend classes to help get them back on their feet. Maintenance volunteers are always in high-demand for everything from gardening to painting.
Charlotte Family Housing also has a unique opportunity for volunteer groups of three to six people to engage as Hope Teams. These teams are paired with a specific family with the goal of being their “cheerleader.” The concept is to model a longer-term stable relationship by engaging in fun activities, helping with budgeting, celebrating special life occasions and generally supporting their partner family to stay motivated and encouraged.Click here for specific ways you can help Charlotte Family Housing today.