Organizations: My Sister's Place
Sadly, the need remains great, but, happily, so does the success rate of My Sister’s Place, the only residential program in northeast Georgia exclusively for homeless women and children.
“We always have a waiting list,” says Managing Director Brandee Thomas. “A resident has made a ‘successful’ move when she is able to secure employment and transition to a permanent home, and the majority of our residents – at least 60 percent – are success stories.”
The nonprofit, funded solely by private donations, began in founder Marty Owens’ basement and has been officially open since 2000. The program keeps growing to accommodate more residents. The Gainesville location can now house up to 16 women and children and serves surrounding counties as well as Metro Atlanta. So far this year, My Sister’s Place has provided a fresh start to more than 40 clients, who typically stay for up to three months.
“We provide a safe, loving home; clothing; transportation; and referrals for healthcare needs,” Thomas says, “and, in exchange, our residents are required to seek employment if they aren’t already working.”
Residents then save 40 percent of their earnings to use for security deposits and rent.
“While they’re here, we try to add tools to their toolbox with enrichment sessions on budgeting, self-defense, nutrition, CPR and general life skills,” she says.
My Sister’s Place currently is raising funds and scouting locations for a thrift store, which would generate income as well as employment and training opportunities. “We want to make sure that our ladies have the most stable financial foundation possible,” Thomas says, “so they are in a better position overall when they leave than when they arrived.”