By Morgan Crutchfield
NCCU Staff Writer
the Durham VOICE
Parents with children are the fastest growing, yet least visible piece of the homeless population, not only in Northeast Central Durham, but across the nation. Genesis Home, located at 300 North Queen St. in downtown Durham, helps to keep those families off of the street.
It was the first of this month, 23 years ago, that the non-profit organization, Genesis Home, came into the community with open arms to anyone in need, but focused on families with children.
“When a lot of people think of homelessness, they automatically think of someone with a sign on the side of the road or someone living under a bridge. They don’t think about a mother or father with kids that just may need to get out of a bad situation,” said Mary McGuigan, Director of Development at Genesis Home.
While the parents are provided a place to stay until they can get back onto their feet, the kids are provided tutoring sessions and enrichment programs. The three story building can host up to 12 families. Seven more than what it could originally hold when opening in 1989. The new and larger facility was built in 1992 giving each family a private suite with two bedrooms to be sure to accommodate the children. During the days of the tough economy, a families’ average stay was 12 to 14 months, but as it has gotten better the average stay decreased to six to nine months.
The non-profit only houses families with children because according to The National Center on Family Homelessness, children experiencing homelessness are four times more likely to show delayed development and twice as likely to have learning disabilities than a child who has a home. Genesis Home is saving parents from homelessness so that it cannot affect the child in the future.
The Genesis Home mission is to work to end homelessness for families with children by providing housing and supportive services to foster independence.
On Saturday, March 24, 2012, the Volunteer Center of Durham will hold its 17th annual Great Human Race in which Genesis Home is a participant.
The Great Human Race is a 5k run and community walk that raises money for many non-profit organizations in the Triangle area. Genesis’ Home’s goal is to raise $10,000, which will enable them to send every one of their Genesis Home Children to summer camp.
“I love it because of the inclusiveness of it,” said McGuigan. “You can be a runner and run the race competitively or be a walker with limited mobility, any and every one can fundraise.”
Last year, the race raised $17,500 for the Genesis Home allowing them to send each of their kids to camp for the summer at the downtown YMCA. They were also able to provide swimsuits, goggles, and towels for the children thanks to the donations by TJ Maxx.
This year the race has the support of the Carolina Hurricanes and announcer John Foresland. McGuigan says that anyone can join the team and walk or run in the race. And if you cannot attend the race, a small donation of $5 to $10 would help just as well. “With everyone’s help, I’m pretty sure we’ll be able to hit our target,” said McGuigan.