The Dorothy Day House has taken hospitality to the next level. They opened a home specifically for people in periods of transition in order to address homelessness. In the city of Memphis, after the age of 13, boys are not permitted to stay at homeless shelters with their mothers. Because of this rule, many families become separated when children reach this age. The Dorothy Day House was created specifically for cases when mothers and children are in danger of separation. The house accommodates four entire families.
Founders of the home were inspired by Dorothy Day herself, an activist from the 1930s-1980s. She opened several houses of hospitality for homeless and poverty stricken people. They saw a need for a homeless shelter in the city of Memphis that housed whole families, so they created The Dorothy Day House of Hospitality. They help parents get back on their feet and work out programs for them to get jobs, their G.E.D. or anything else necessary for them to provide for themselves. They also work to help them plan out their financial future and create sustainability in their lives.
I shared a nice Sunday night with the families staying at The Dorothy Day House. We talked over brownies and juice boxes, and I was entertained by a game of Twister with the kids. The children appeared to be content and generally carefree. The oldest boy currently living at the house is 13 years old; he lives there with his mother and sister. While we worked on a puzzle together, he told me about school and the activities he planned to participate in. His sister told me how she was studying to take her A.C.T. Thanks to the Dorothy Day House, this family is able to stay together and continue living their lives while their mother searches for a job.
I had the chance to play with a very active five-year-old, who I would assume spends his time entertaining the other residents. As he ran around the room and quickly swallowed his fudge brownie, I observed that he was being given the opportunity to live a somewhat normal, happy life while his mother works to obtain her G.E.D. and get a higher-paying job.
The home provides more than shelter; it provides a waiting place while families put their life back together and allows them the chance to make it better than before. Residents at The Dorothy Day House also receive love and support during their stay. When I arrived, I was seated in a cozy living room, and family members came downstairs for a time of prayer and read scripture verses from the Bible. The residents welcomed me as we shared prayer time together.
The home is run by a board of directors and Executive Director Sister Maureen Griner. The Dorothy Day House gains support from private donors and charitable foundations. As they work to keep homeless families together and breach the cycle of poverty in the city of Memphis, it is important that they continuously gain support from donors and volunteers.
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