Wednesday, December 9, 2015


Dorothy Day House of Hospitality

* Moronke Oluwatoyin joins us today to share information about a special NGO that offers aide to the homeless. She invites you to check out her site for international tutors  @  ** Blog owner note: I had to edit this article somewhat due to grammar corrections, as such some of the sentences are a bit different from the original submission.

NGO domains which stands for non-governmental organization are entities usually nonprofit which work independently. The city of Memphis is among the top three cities in America in terms of homeless citizens. Over two thousand men, women and children are considered to be homeless, this is a realistic figure.

Homeless people looking for shelter find themselves in such situation for a variety of reasons. The underlying reason could probably be caused by loss of job, a serious illness, a lack of marketable job skills, a house that probably got burned or repossessed, poverty and despair.

Numerous organizations are making a difference for homeless people - one of these outstanding non-profit organizations can be found in Memphis (US) is known as the Dorothy Day House of Hospitality (DDH). This is a completely volunteer - based organization serving the poor and the homeless at the point of their critical need. It is the only shelter in Memphis that allows families to stay together. It is an updated approach to poverty and homelessness. Their mission provides food, temporary shelter and clothing to the homeless families. Their professional volunteers and staffs work to get the homeless back on their feet after they have returned to their permanent housing.
This hospitality home was founded by catholic workers, Dorothy Day (1897 - 1980) and Peter Maurin in the early 1930's. It was both inspired by their vision and passion to stabilize the homeless families with the necessities of food, clothing and safe shelter. Through her hospitality ministry, she was able to identify the root cause and conditions of homelessness of individual family. Dorothy Day described herself as a ''woman who must think in terms of the family, the need of the child to have both mother and father who believes strongly that the home is the unit of the society.''

The  DDH has been able to break the cycle of poverty for homeless families, create hopeful future for their children and most importantly make families stay together. Through monetary and in-kind donations from private donors and charitable organizations, they provide educational resources and guidance, parenting skills, employment counseling, referrals for child care, advocacy, access to sources of permanent housing and new personal relationships which provide a system of healthy support and encouragement for homeless families.

What makes DDH a unique NGO in Memphis Tennessee? In most shelter homes in Memphis, husband, wife and older children are not accepted in their hospitality centers as a family because they accommodate only residents of single sex. This implies that mothers cannot stay with their older sons, husband and wife are separated, fathers cannot stay with their daughters. Most families prefer to stay in their families to avoid separation. However, at Dorothy Day House of Hospitality, this dilemma is addressed.

According to Sr. Maureen Griner, Executive Director at  DDH during their Lipscomb & Pitts Breakfast Club Radio show, ''the  DDH keeps homeless families together, creating a safe haven and a community for entire families.'' They keep this homeless families and help them stay together while homeless. They rebuild their lives after the trauma of losing their home. With these families placed together in the Dorothy Day House of Hospitality, parents are able to focus on the positive changes that are needed to re-gain their independence. Sister Maureen, a catholic sister in  DDH , confirms that, '' there are limited options for families that want to stay together. One shelter host adult males, all shelter hosts women. This means during toughest times, husbands and wives are separated.'' 

The next question is, how do they achieve their goals and mission statement? First, achievable goals are set with each family - this is done continuously. Once they have accomplished the task of placing a family in their permanent home, it does not end there. A follow up goes on, DDH continues to work with the family to make sure that any underlying issue does not re-surface to threaten their new found independence. Dory Yager Thomas who is married to Stanley Thomas in Memphis Tennessee says, '' DDH is certainly a wonderful place. They took my son and I in an helped me back on my feet. I thank them for all their help.''

Their network of volunteer professionals bring all available resources to bear the burden and lessen any core issues.  DDH also work in conjunction with local agencies, staff members and volunteers who provide families in need with a safe environment and the means to re-establish their independence. According to Amanda Smith, ''DDH is a blessing to many and I was glad to be a part of the blessing.''

Although, DDH is a non - governmental organization, it cannot cope with the large numbers of homeless citizens in Memphis Tennessee. The center has been a source of hope for many families by bringing them together as one entity. It was rated a five star hospitality home by homeless families who have regained their independence and home. Additionally, it has achieved significant progress towards sheltering homeless people and made much more progress toward its local goals and mission of welcoming any family without discrimination.

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