Furnish A Future - Helping Families Begin Again
Furnish a Future is a unique program for Hopeful Horizons, led by a dedicated volunteer group. The program creates safe and joyful spaces for individuals and families who are starting a new life after fleeing domestic violence and staying at our emergency shelter.
In many cases, women and their children who are assisted through Hopeful Horizons’ housing program need to rebuild from the ground up. Our Housing Program works with shelter residents to secure permanent housing, pays a portion of the deposit and rent (for up to two years) and continues to provide supportive services. In 2021, Hopeful Horizons helped 78 women and their children obtain housing (apartments and rental homes).
Once a move-in date is set, Furnish a Future steps in and collects furniture, linens, décor and other items specific for each family. They can even assist with moving and setting up the client’s new home! Furnishing a survivor’s new home with love provides them with a positive start on their journey.
Rebecca Jones and Amanda Andrews are the lead volunteers for the Furnish a Future program.
How did this program get started?
Rebecca: On March 9, 2021, Kristin Dubrowski was the guest speaker at St. Andrew by the Sea’s Fellowship Friends’ virtual meeting. During the Zoom meeting, I inquired if Hopeful Horizons had a program that provided design skills and supplied furniture, bedding, household goods, etc. to clients leaving the domestic violence shelter and moving into their new home. Kristin answered that Hopeful Horizons would be interested in developing that type of program so on April 4, 2021, the first meeting was held with Kristin plus Mary, Jackie and Laquesha from the shelter, where Hopeful Horizons-Furnish a Future begin to grow into reality.
What would you like people to know about you, Amanda and Rebecca? How did you meet? How many communities have you done this for?
Rebecca: Amanda and I met about 10 years ago while serving on North Lincoln Middle School PTA in North Carolina. Over the years, we have served together in Lincoln County, NC, and in Guatemala. In 2007, I co-founded Helping Hands Community Service Group located in Denver, NC, which has a similar program that serves individuals moving into a new home from homelessness or temporary housing.
Amanda: I have been involved in various organizations throughout the years both domestically and abroad, usually in underserved areas. Perhaps the most rewarding was working collaboratively with other really skilled volunteers to build a new home (in one week) for people that had lost their homes to hurricane Katrina. It was intense and highly coordinated effort, but…. wow, the reward was high for everyone involved.
What does the process look like for a family utilizing Furnish a Future?
Amanda: The client is provided an intake form that helps Furnish a Future determine what their family’s needs are. Sometimes, clients have items that they that they really want to incorporate into their new home, and we totally want to honor that.
After reviewing the form, Rebecca and I typically have a conversation with the client to get a feel for their design style, their likes and dislikes. We also try to learn a little bit about the other family members – their hobbies, their wish list items.
From there, Furnish a Future goes to work acquiring furnishings that best match the preferences of the client. We are incredibly fortunate to live in a community that is so generous with their donations.
Tell us about the magic that happens in the storage units.
Amanda: The storage units…wow! They are constantly evolving based on the needs of clients and the generosity of donors. We are currently blessed with two units. The first unit contains bathroom and kitchen kits, along with large furniture for the common areas in a home (living room furniture, dining room furniture, rugs, decorative items). The second unit is set up with complete bedroom sets. Each set includes: mattress set, headboard, dresser, mattress cover, sheets, comforter, pillows, a small dresser or night stand, and decorative items that coordinate with the room theme. For kids, we try to keep the rooms fun and bright! We have rooms with rockets, dinosaurs, gaming, rainbows and beach themes.
How long does it take to set up a new apartment or home on moving day?
Amanda: Logistically, move-in day runs pretty smoothly and is a quick transition. We are completely flexible with how involved the client wants us to be with setting up their new home. For example, clients often want to make the beds and set up the décor items on their own. This really gives them a sense of ownership and pride in making their new house a true home, suited to their family.
What have you heard from clients?
Amanda: Clients are always, always appreciative of the work Furnish a Future and Hopeful Horizons do to help set up their new home. It’s the small things, though, that they really are overwhelmed by:
a cleaning kit that is complete with a mop, broom and cleaning essentials
small touches in their children’s rooms, like their favorite stuffed animal or a room decorated around a child’s favorite color
What’s your favorite part of this project?
Rebecca: Our favorite part of the process is bringing individuals together who are excited to donate and/or serve and seeing the collective whole of furnishing a life changing home for a family!
I also love the kitchen, bathroom and welcome kits!
What do you need most for Furnish a Future?
Rebecca: Hopeful Horizons-Furnish a Future has been blessed by generous donors! When a client moves into a new home, they receive a kitchen, bathroom and welcome kit complete with new dishes, glassware, dishes, silverware, pots/pans, towels, bathmats, shower curtain, cleaning supplies and trash cans to name a few things. Currently items for the kits are appreciated, as well as new linens. There are two Amazon Gift Registries with the needed kit and linen items:
At checkout on Amazon, select Gift Registry Address as the shipping address.
Monetary donations to Hopeful Horizons-Furnish a Future are also appreciated!