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Premier Organizations Serving Homeless Children Merge

By Sarah Fedota

Our House and Genesis Shelter, two metro Atlanta organizations that fill a compelling need helping homeless children and families, will combine operations on July 1.

Our House opened its doors to children in 1988 and is a full-day, year-round, nationally accredited early childhood education center. It serves up to 79 children daily and offers comprehensive support services to parents experiencing homelessness. If parents without permanent housing, often single women, need to look for or train for a job, that parent’s child has quality, reliable early

childhood education at Our House.

Genesis Shelter was founded in 1994 by 16 faith-based organizations in response to a growing

population of women leaving the hospital homeless after having babies. Located near the Martin

Luther King Jr. Center, Genesis houses 18 families with babies under 6 months old. It also provides

counseling, child care for up to 48 children daily and comprehensive support services in a safe and

nurturing environment.

“Our House and Genesis Shelter are creating an organization with increased and enhanced capacity for helping children experiencing homelessness to have the brightest start while we support their

families as they achieve stability,” says Tyese Lawyer, executive director for Our House. On any given day, there are more than 800 homeless children in the metro Atlanta area. The merger will allow the new organization to increase the number of children and families served and expand the impact of its programming.

“This streamlined and efficient organization will focus on serving the most vulnerable in our

Community: homeless babies and children,” says Nancy Friauf, executive director for Genesis

Shelter. “We have a 45 year combined history of serving families and through our merger will

provide multisite programs for child care, shelter, job training, counseling and family support

services, all designed to transform lives for this generation and those to come.”

 The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta provided guidance and a restructuring grant that allowed for the engagement of consultant services to facilitate the merger. “The Foundation is proud

to have supported the merger of Genesis and Our House,” says Alicia Philipp, president. “The boards

and executive directors worked well together and never lost sight of their mission: to enhance services to homeless women and children. This merger will serve as a model for others. “Both the Our House and Genesis Shelter boards of directors voted unanimously to merge. Tyese Lawyer will serve as the new organization’s president and CEO and Nancy Friauf will remain for several months to assist in the transition.

About Our House

For over 25 years, Our House has provided a safe, nurturing, high-quality early education program to

homeless children while providing their parents with assistance in securing housing, employment and

other resources critical to achieving self-sufficiency. The early education program of Our House is

accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. 711 Columbia Drive,

Decatur, Ga 30030;

About Genesis Shelter

For over 20 years, Genesis Shelter has provided shelter, child care, meals, counseling and case

management services for homeless newborn babies and their families. Since 1994, Genesis has

served 3,450 individuals in more than 1,350 families. 173 Boulevard N.E., Atlanta, Ga 30312;

Contacts: Tyese Lawyer, Executive Director, Our House, 404-378-0938, ext. 21

Nancy Friauf, Executive Director, Genesis Shelter, 404-522-6056


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