I was contacted last year by Charlotte Family Housing and asked to provide some pro bono human resource consulting. After researching the organization, I quickly agreed. I held focus groups with the dedicated employees to gauge job satisfaction and learn about the population they serve. Due to the lack of local, affordable housing, Charlotte Family Housing serves a constantly increasing population. And they serve with grace, providing families a way to stay together as they transition from homelessness to self-sufficiency. CFH strives to help families maintain their dignity, providing job training, education, food, shelter, clothes, toiletries, books and toys to its residents. Most families stay 60 to 90 days, then move into their own place, subsidized by grants and donations. The amount of financial support decreases over the next 18 to 24 months, as the family becomes self-sufficient. Their success rate is above 90%, which is amazing.
Most of us will never have to choose between paying for food or medication, clothes or the electric bill, but many families in Charlotte make those tough decisions every day. Rent accounts for as much as 80% of their household income, leaving little left over for necessities, let alone luxuries like going out to eat or paying for their children to participate in after school activities or summer camps. Your children may have homeless classmates and would never know it due to the support from CFH.
Touring one of the group homes where families live was eye opening. Family members sleep in the same room and share communal bathrooms and kitchens. They each have a small refrigerator and pantry, which they lock after each use. I met some of the residents and am in awe of their positive attitude and their constant effort to do more and be more to support their families. Please join me on Mitzvah Day and enjoy a fun-filled day of games, crafts, and lunch while getting to know some of the families in our area supported by Charlotte Family Housing.
Jennifer Cohen Golynsky is the Director of Human Resources for W.K. Dickson & Co., Inc. She currently serves on the boards of Jewish Family Services, Charlotte Jewish Preschool, Charlotte Area Society for Human Resource Management and the Mecklenburg County Human Resource Advisory Committee. She and her husband Leon will both be participating in this project.