AMANDA SIMPSON MOVES TO THE FAMILY HOUSE
Amanda Simpson and her 1-year-old daughter Alynnea have lived at the Our House Shelter for one year. Amanda’s story of how she came to Our House is unfortunately not a unique one; she got out of an abusive relationship with her daughter’s father, moved into a battered women’s shelter, and eventually ended up at the Our House Shelter. She was first a resident in the dorms, sharing a room with forty other women, while trying to figure out how to be a new, young mother.
One month ago things changed for the better for Amanda and Alynnea with the opening of the Family Housing unit on the Our House campus. The Family Housing Unit, which has 14 units in two buildings, has allowed Amanda to gain more independence and prepare for the real world. She is able to go grocery shopping for her family on her own and get a sense of what it will be like to live in an apartment in the real world.
“It definitely puts more structure into your life and prepares you for the real world,” Amanda says. All residents do their own chores and share responsibility for the common kitchen and living room.
The most important aspect of the family housing for Amanda is being able to get the much needed quality time with her daughter, thanks to the private family rooms.
“I can see a change in my daughter’s attitude already. Our bond has gotten stronger since we have been on our own. I have been able to take what I’ve learned from the parenting classes taught here and apply it at home without other women interfering with how I parent,” Amanda says.
She looks forward to the day she moves out and has aspirations of becoming a surgical technician, but for now she is just taking it one day at a time, enjoying her new apartment in the family housing unit and rebuilding her life with Alynnea.
“The family housing unit has inspired me a lot; it’s made me more independent and has given me good structure in my life. I would recommend it for any young homeless mothers.”
Our House, Inc. provides family housing to homeless families and individuals. The Family Housing Program consists of two buildings with 13 units. Residents stay in private family rooms and share a common living room and kitchen. The program enables married people to stay together and parents to stay with their children. Our House is the only program in the state of Arkansas that provides housing to single, homeless fathers with their children and families that include older male children.
So, we were excited to help Our House with planning, design and renovation of the two existing buildings. We designed a new porch, organized the existing spaces so that private bathrooms could be provided, not the group bathrooms before, and provided a communal kitchen with private pantries and commercial freezer/ref. for each family. Many groups came together to provide funding, furniture, kitchen equipment, linens. A great project all around.