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Genesis Home and Durham Interfaith Hospitality Network
Will Merge to Better Serve Homeless Families

Local news coverage about the merger:

The Herald-Sun

The News & Observer


DURHAM, NC – Homeless families in Durham need more than a place to sleep and a hot meal. After 20 years of working together to serve homeless families in Durham, and several months of facilitated discussions, Genesis Home and Durham Interfaith Hospitality Network (DIHN) have made the decision to merge. The two organizations expect to finalize a merger agreement before the end of 2015.

“The merged agency will be a vital component of our family system in Durham. Our goal is not simply to get families into permanent housing, but to address the needs of each household, both in the shelter and as families transition to independence in their own housing.” said Ryan Fehrman, Executive Director of Genesis Home.

Thus the combined agency will:

  1. Assure temporary “emergency” shelter is available to accommodate the projected need for space for at least 100 families per year.
  2. Help families find sustainable sources of income and quickly move into permanent housing.
  3. Address the root causes of homelessness and break the cycle of poverty through professional case management and mobilizing our existing volunteer base to provide enrichment activities, mentoring and life skills development for clients.

“The involvement and support of DIHN’s congregational network of volunteers and Genesis Home’s community volunteers will be critical to the success of the new organization,” said Catherine Pleil, Executive Director of Durham Interfaith Hospitality Network.

“Genesis Home and Durham Interfaith Hospitality Network complement each other in mission and operations,” said Cindy Streett, President of the Genesis Home Board of Directors. “A merger of our organizations will give us the potential to be more productive and have stronger programs. The goal for our combined organization is to serve 30% more families per year than we do today, all of whom will benefit from expanded and enhanced programming tailored to their needs.”

“With the merger, families will be moved into permanent housing more quickly, with the assurance that robust ‘aftercare’ support will continue following their move. This will contribute to greater family stability in Durham.” added Jim Hewitt, President of the DIHN Board. “The merger will also allow for more efficient use of scarce community resources, particularly space and funding.”

Genesis Home and Durham Interfaith Hospitality Network have worked closely with two other community partners, as well — Housing for New Hope and Urban Ministries of Durham — in a committed effort to design and implement the best end-to-end system of care to address family homelessness in Durham. This system includes the following key elements:

  • Coordinated intake (provided by Durham County Department of Social Services)
  • Diversion (to stabilize families in permanent housing without the need for them to enter the shelter system)
  • Family emergency shelter
  • Rehousing assistance
  • Aftercare

Once merged, Genesis Home and Durham Interfaith Hospitality Network will focus on the emergency shelter and aftercare elements of this system — while continuing to collaborate with Housing for New Hope and Urban Ministries — with the objective of helping families achieve residential stability and self-sufficiency.

Over the last several months, Genesis Home and Durham Interfaith Hospitality Network engaged in a process, led by facilitators from the Executive Service Corps, to evaluate whether a merger or some other form of collaboration would best serve homeless families. At their April meetings, the Boards of the two agencies met independently and agreed to move forward with a merger, and at their May meetings they each signed a formal Memorandum of Understanding.

The name of the merged organization will change to reflect the combined mission agreed upon by both agencies. Ryan Fehrman, currently Executive Director of Genesis Home, will become Executive Director of the merged organization. Catherine Pleil, currently Executive Director of Durham Interfaith Hospitality Network, will become Director for Programs and Partnerships. The new Board of Directors will be comprised of a combination of both predecessor boards.

For more information contact:
Genesis Home, Ryan Fehrman, Executive Director, ryan@genesishome.org, 919-683-5878, ext. 21
Or, Durham Interfaith Hospitality Network, Catherine Pleil, Executive Director, catherine@dihn.org, 919-682-2846.

About Genesis Home
Genesis Home is a non-profit based in Durham, N.C., that works to end homelessness for families with children by providing housing and supportive services to foster independence.

About Durham Interfaith Hospitality Network
Durham Interfaith Hospitality Network addresses the immediate and ongoing needs of homeless families by mobilizing Durham congregations and people of faith to help families move toward residential stability and self-sufficiency.

They partner with over 30 local congregations to provide overnight accommodations, meals, and transportation for guests on a rotating basis. During the day, families receive comprehensive case management services, including assistance in procuring jobs, medical care, daycare and school placement, and permanent housing.