Some of Durham’s residents face challenges that are bigger than any one organization can tackle on its own. Experts find, for example, that between 2007 and 2020, the number of unsheltered individuals increased by 108%1 — and that number includes children and families.
Families Moving Forward, Housing for New Hope, Urban Ministries of Durham, and Durham’s Partnership for Children came together in 2015 knowing that finding a solution to this multi-dimensional community problem requires a deeply collaborative approach. The partners shared with Fox Family Foundation their goal of creating a system of services that moves families experiencing homelessness into permanent housing. Fox Family Foundation — persuaded by the collaborators’ holistic approach to solving housing instability — awarded a $150,000, multi-year grant in 2016 to the Durham Collaborative to End Family Homelessness (DCEFH).
“This grant was a vote of confidence for our vision,” shared Russell Pierce, Executive Director of Housing for New Hope. “Further, it gave us the latitude early on to research and fine-tune a responsive model toward our goal to end family homelessness in Durham.” In addition, the partners used the funding to implement critical action steps to decrease both wait times for and time spent in emergency shelters, and to ensure that families who finally land in permanent housing get the help they need to stay there long-term.
The success of this nonprofit collaboration — sharing resources to strengthen existing programs and creating strategies to help families remain in stable housing — can be seen in the success of the people they serve together. Data for 2019 and 2020 show that just a little more than 1% of the 1728 family members served by DCEFH during that time period returned to shelters. The Collaborative’s approach to shared resources magnifies the impact each of these agencies would have if they worked independently and offers a seamless, intergenerational system to help Durham families move as quickly as possible from housing instability into permanent housing.
1 Source: National Alliance to End Homelessness (n.d.). State of Homelessness: Durham City & County CoC. Retrieved on August 15, 2021, from State of Homelessness: State and CoC Dashboards