House the Homeless, Break the Yokes
Is not this the sort of fast that pleases me: to break unjust fetters, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break all yokes? Is it not sharing your food with the hungry, and sheltering the homeless poor … Isaiah 58:6-7
At FPC Durham, there’s been a long-standing and substantial effort to address housing needs in our community. Along with our local partners, we work to provide stability, to build confidence, making families whole.
Families Moving Forward (Genesis Home & Interfaith Hospitality Network)
Families Moving Forward (a merger of Genesis Home and Interfaith Hospitality Network) offers a temporary home to families with children in the crisis of homelessness. It helps to create a path to stability and self-sufficiency through personalized services and ongoing support. The church was instrumental in establishing Genesis Home in 1989 & still provides financial support. Members have volunteered in a variety of capacities over the years. Recent activities include year-long commitments on circles of support for families moving out of the shelter and service as hospitality hosts for dinners at the shelter.
Habitat for Humanity creates the opportunity for homeownership for families whose incomes would not qualify them for a conventional loan. The work is made possible by countless hours of volunteer assistance and by financial support from individuals, congregations, and businesses. First Presbyterian Church has sponsored a number of builds both on its own and in partnership with other congregations. Congregational members regularly volunteer and several have joined annual Habitat building trips to Honduras as well as the newest group, the Women Roofers.
Housing for New Hope works to prevent and end homelessness in Durham by providing services designed to place and support individuals and families in permanent and stable housing. HNH provides emergency financial assistance to families, disabled adults, and senior citizens in crisis to prevent them from becoming homeless. It also offers intensive case management and outreach, rapid re-housing of homeless families, and supportive housing for homeless individuals with disabling conditions. Members of First Presbyterian were instrumental in forming the organization in the 1990s, and continue to serve as volunteers and board members.
First Presbyterian Prison Ministry
In 2017 First Presbyterian initiated its first Faith Team to support a person returning to the Durham community from the prison system. The team is guided by the Religious Coalition for a Non-Violent Durham and forms a one-year partnership of friendship and encouragement with the individual in transition. The Durham County Criminal Justice Resource Center also provides team training and partner support.
In addition, church members are involved with the Yokefellow program where they provide a “listening ear” and emotional support for individuals at Orange County Correctional Center. For more information contact Libby Gulley or Jane Williams.