On Tuesday, May 9, 2017, Housing for New Hope hosted our Annual Breakfast, celebrating 25 years of service to the community. The event was held at The Cotton Room at Golden Belt, a beautiful and inspiring representation of Durham's history.
In attendance were several City and State officials - Chief of Police CJ Davis, Mayor Pro Tem Cora Cole-McFadden, Commissioner Heidi Carter, Councilman Steve Schewel, and Representative Marcia Morey - who were all excited to learn more about Housing for New Hope, to celebrate our 25 years of service in the community, and to join HNH in planning for a brighter and more inclusive Durham for all its residents.
Monica Barnes, ABC11 Community Affairs and Programming Director, welcomed our guests and provided introductions for our speakers. Monica's enthusiasm for the Durham community and the HNH mission was a wonderful addition to our program. We are thankful for her willingness to emcee our Breakfast.
Following the welcome, the Rev. Katie Crowe led our guests in an invocation. Rev. Crowe is a HNH Board member who lives and works in Durham. She shares our vision to prevent and end homelessness and seeks to inspire others to join HNH in making that vision a reality.
Dr. Beverly Ford, HNH Board Chair, recognized special guests: City, County, and State officials and our supporters. Dr. Ford stressed that without contributions from each of these groups, HNH would not have been successful for 25 years. However, she explained, there is still work left to do.
The founder of HNH, Terry Allebaugh, spoke to our guests about his vision in the creation of Housing for New Hope and how excited he remains to see his dream grow and flourish under the leadership of its board and Executive Director, Olive Joyner.
Fontella Bass, an HNH alumnus, shared her compelling story of her struggle with trauma, substance abuse, and homelessness. Ms. Bass is proud to be "clean and sober" for 11 years and living in a home that she will completely pay off next year. She credited her success to the support and encouragement she received from HNH staff and programs. Ms. Bass received a standing ovation with very few dry eyes remaining in the room.
Olive Joyner spoke about current programs and services that HNH offers and praised the staff who work daily to carry out the mission of preventing and ending homelessness. She urged our guests to consider the challenges of affordable housing and homelessness as one and challenged them to think creatively to get involved. Olive's message was one of ending homelessness through building community and having compassion for our neighbors.
Our special guest speaker was Attorney General Josh Stein. AG Stein brought an interesting perspective to our discussion by asking, "What are we doing in the near future to alleviate homelessness in our communities?" AG Stein is focused on creating safe communities and discussed several bills he has drafted with that goal in mind. He noted that Durham held a very special place in his heart, as his first job after graduate school was in the City of Medicine. He urged us to, "lend a hand to our neighbor when they need us the most." AG Stein praised HNH and its staff for the valuable work they do daily. You can hear AG Stein's entire speech here.
As the program closed, HNH thanked our wonderful event sponsors - PNC Bank, BCBSNC, Collaborative Technology Solutions, Laser Image, and the Fresh Market.
Thank you to our volunteers, Sarah Kingan who made such amazing centerpieces, and Kristen West who helped plan and organize this event.
To see the full album of photos, click here.