House of Refuge from Mesa, Arizona – Interview

 

Arizona Roofing Systems from Mesa, Arizona, a local roofing company, started a new local campaign to raise awareness about local non-profit and non-governmental organizations around Arizona.
The one among many organizations is House of Refuge, whose purpose is to help homeless families by providing transitional housing and supportive services.
We got the idea to contact the organization and take a short interview to find out more about their mission and hardest, as well as the most fulfilling moments. If you’d like to know why their program is unique and what is their biggest challenge, get informed and read the text below.

Introduction: To begin with, we would like you to briefly tell us about your organization.

House of Refuge is a faith-based, non-profit 501(c)(3) that provides supportive services and transitional housing to homeless families. House of Refuge is a work program with case management services, employment support and transitional housing.

1. What do you do exactly? And what was the reason that encouraged you to start this organization?

When the Williams Field Air Force Base was decommissioned in 1993 our founder, Elmer Miller received through a grant 88 single family homes and the chapel to provide transitional housing and support to eligible families.

2. What motivates you? Describe your passion.

Our mission is to help homeless families right here in our community that are in crisis by providing transitional housing and supportive services that assist participants as they strive towards self-sufficiency and seek to obtain permanent housing. Through our drug free, alcohol free, work program residents are provided with safe and stable housing with wraparound social services to help them move toward sustainability. At House of Refuge, our business is taking the broken human spirit and restoring it body, mind and soul. We feel that by educating and assisting the entire person we not only strengthen the individual, but the family as well.

3. Tell us about your goals.

It is our goal that every family that comes through our program successfully transitions from homelessness to self-sufficiency.

4. What was the hardest/toughest moment you had to deal with? Obstacles you faced when dealing with bureaucracy, permits, funding, etc. Something you would like to point out to anyone who might be starting their own organization.

On May 2nd, 2016 House of Refuge (along with 50% of the transitional housing programs in the United States) were notified they would no longer receive funding through the Department of Housing and Urban Development. To escalate the problem, we were also notified that this defunding would take place retroactively as of February 1, 2016. This catastrophic loss of funding forced us to immediately move 144 individuals off property in the middle of the Arizona summer heat.

5. What was the most fulfilling moment that happened to you?

Seeing the East Valley community wrap around us in such a way that we are not only still standing but here in just 18 months we will be at full capacity the end of October. What began as a curse became a blessing as now we are fully privately funded and are no longer under any Government restrictions as to how we can run our program with regards to it being a drug free, alcohol free, work program.

6. What separates you from the rest? Why you?

There really isn’t any program quite like ours. To be eligible for our transitional housing program residents must; be employed or gain employment in 45 days, be alcohol and drug free (we test), be at least 18 years of age and have dependent children, be deemed homeless- at risk of homelessness- or fleeing domestic violence, have some form of verifiable income, and not have been charged with or committed any sex offense.

7. Do you have any upcoming events in the forthcoming months?

Our next big fundraiser will correspond with Homelessness and Hunger week which is November 11th-18th. We are partnering with local restaurants in the Gilbert, Queen Creek, and San Tan Valley areas who will be offering proceeds from those evenings to House of Refuge. You can follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/HouseofRefugeInc/ to find out which restaurants are participating in your area.

8. What is it that you love most about what you do?

The opportunity to change the trajectory of a family forever. Many of our residents lack the support system needed to get back on their feet. Some have burned bridges, many have ran out of hope, and are operating in survival mode. We get to come along side them, give them some tools, set some goals and accountability steps and help them change the things they have control over that will give them and their children a better life.

9. What is the biggest challenge you’re faced with today?

The cost of providing beds. Our families generally arrive with very little. Everything they need from food to dishes to clothing and cleaning supplies is provided through our onsite donation center through community donations. Their houses are furnished with items they pick out that have been donated, but we strive to ensure that everyone who doesn’t have a bed gets a brand new one. 43% of our residents come from domestic violence- if they were to face sleeping on the floor they may start to think they were better off where they came from, we cannot have that happen. When our families leave our program they take everything with them so with families leaving and arriving we spend over $67K in beds.

Contact: How can people reach out to you? Your organization’s name, phone, address, e-mail and links to your social media.

Our mailing address is 6935 E Williams Field Rd, Mesa 85212. Our donation center hours are Monday-Friday 9:30 AM to 4 PM and is located at 6858 E Ursula #2, Mesa 85212.

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