Charlotte Family Housing

Hands stacked on top of one another on conference table, Sepia,

The Heart of a Good Partnership

We talk a lot about “partnering” at Charlotte Family Housing.

So what’s at the heart of a good partnership?
Honesty. Accountability. Trust. Faithful, tireless commitment.

In a world of quick fixes and instant results, I believe that Charlotte Family Housing’s deliberate, relational approach to helping families overcome homelessness and poverty sets us apart. The long-term partnerships we cultivate with our families create life-altering, sustainable change.

I want to share a story that personifies our partnerships and reminds me why they’re so critical to the CFH mission. I hope it will inspire you to continue your collaboration with us as we wrap up our 2015-16 fiscal year.

A few days ago, I had the privilege of accompanying one of our social workers on her bi-monthly visit to see one of our clients.  “Mom”, a single mother with one son, has been in our program for 18 months and lives in a clean, modest apartment. She pays 30% of her income for rent and we make up the difference, with self-sufficiency as our goal at program exit: paying her full rent with her own earned income.

Mom works at an assisted living facility helping elderly patients care for themselves.   She must be physically strong so that she can move her patients from place to place and – more significantly- mentally strong, so that she can provide encouragement to her clients while hiding what her patients would never guess:  that she’s struggling through homelessness and poverty. Mom cannot let the weight of her burdens manifest while on the job, for if she makes a mistake and a patient complains, she could lose her job.

For all of her hard work, Mom makes only $8.25 an hour, netting less than $1000 a month. She pays $402 for rent, $145 for her car payment….half of her earnings gone with just two bills.  As I sat there listening to this mother and her social worker navigate through a budget with a razor-thin margin for error,  I found myself wondering about food, gas, utilities, childcare expenses…how will she make it work?!

That’s where the partnerships come in.

I listened as the social worker coached Mom how to advocate for herself with her employer.

I marveled as I heard Mom plan to supplement her income by babysitting on the weekends.

I was proud to know that she is building a safety net as our program requires families to save half of their income tax refund for unexpected expenses that come up so her budget isn’t derailed.

I smiled as Mom shared how her Hope Team – our volunteer-client partnership that provides family -like encouragement and support – has helped her find extra-curricular activities for her son.

Positive partnerships creating gradual, long-term change.

Clearly Mom isn’t yet out of the woods – her financial situation remains precarious, since it’s virtually impossible to be self-sufficient on $250 a week.   But with the professional guidance of her social worker, the practical and emotional support of her Hope Team “family” and the resources available through Charlotte Family Housing,  we all work together to empower her  to take one positive step after another. And guess what? I can see her moving forward!

Thank you for partnering with us,

Stephen

 


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