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Frequently asked questions about the merger of Genesis Home and Durham Interfaith Hospitality Network (DIHN)


Q. What is the new organization called?

A. We are Families Moving Forward.


Q. Why did we merge?

A. The merger addresses the strategic goals of both agencies. Genesis Home wanted to transition to an emergency shelter model that moves families into housing more quickly, and DIHN had demonstrated this expertise. DIHN wanted to move to a site-based model and Genesis Home had space available and a long history of operating a family shelter. In addition, shorter lengths of stay in the shelter necessitate more targeted programming in the shelter facility and robust aftercare in order to continue to address each family’s needs once they leave. DIHN’s strong volunteer base will complement Genesis Home’s existing volunteers and will help ensure that families are well served both in the shelter and in aftercare as they transition to independence.

Q. Was either group in financial trouble?

A. No. Both groups have strong financials and the coming together helps us create awareness about helping homeless families. Strong support from the community continues to be important.

Q. Is the merger a benefit to homeless families?

A. Yes. Our model helps us move families into permanent housing faster and helps provide support after their move to break the cycle of poverty and keep them from becoming homeless again.

Q. Is there be cost savings?

A. The two agencies have complementary programs. At this time, we don’t anticipate significant cost savings.

Q. Which organization is in charge?

A. Neither will be in charge. Our organizational structure and our new board takes advantage of each other’s strengths. In this way we have an organization that is more effective than if we stayed separate.

Q. Was this a merger or an acquisition?

A. We view this as a merger of equal partners that will result in an entirely new entity.

Q. When did this happen?

A. End of 2015.

Q. Did the two organizations have the same services? Are they complementary?

A.Both organizations provided shelter and case management services to families with children and helped them move toward residential stability and self-sufficiency. However, the logistics of that support was very different. Genesis Home has a site-based model where all families stay at a single site where the staff is also located. It has great expertise in dealing with families with high barriers to maintaining housing. DIHN brings both a large, well-organized and committed volunteer base as well as expertise in moving families more quickly from Emergency Shelter into permanent housing and aftercare. The two organizations are very complementary, and each brings strengths that are extremely helpful to the families we serve.

Q. Who runs the new organization?

A. Ryan Fehrman, currently Executive Director of Genesis Home, is now Executive Director of Families Moving Forward. Catherine Pleil, was Executive Director of Durham Interfaith Hospitality Network, and is now Director for Programs and Partnerships. The new Board of Directors is comprised of a combination of both predecessor boards.

Q. Will any staff lose their jobs?

A. We do not anticipate losing any positions at this time.

Q. What happens to the two Boards?

A. We Formed a single board and recruited members who are passionate about what we do and have the skills and commitment to provide the most effective services to our clients.

Q. What role does DIHN’s congregational partners play in the new organization?

A. Volunteers are absolutely critical to the success of the new organization. There will continue to be a “rotation” of congregations providing hospitality on a quarterly basis, but some of the volunteer roles are changing. For example, there will no longer be the need for overnight hosts. On the other hand, we have many new volunteer opportunities that congregational volunteers can choose to get involved with, such as mentoring and enrichment programming for both adults and children.

Q. Will this be a faith-based organization?

A. Families of all faiths will continue to be welcomed. There is no religious requirement. Our volunteers come from a variety of congregations and from the community at large.


Merger Press Release Oct 2015 click here.