Archive | Program Story

Annual Report 2017 : We Are Interwoven

“When you are with CEF, you are a part of the thread that makes us all one community.” Chinita is a CEF graduate, and her poetic statement during a CEF celebration perfectly describes the palpable connectivity in this community.

Whether we’re weaving together programs and resources to form a holistic network of support, or connecting our Members and Advocates together in people-centered relationships, CEF is steadily crafting a beautiful, interconnected, and interwoven community.”

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CEF Featured in Prosperity Now’s Financial Coaching Design Guide!

Prosperity Now’s new “Financial Coaching Program Design Guide: A Participant-Centered Approach” is hot off the press! It’s an incredible guide for organizations interested in creating or refining a financial coaching program and it features great work and wisdom from CEF and other partners across the US! We loved working with the Prosperity Now team to bounce thoughts about what makes a good person-centered financial coaching program, and we learned a ton from fellow advisors as well!

Check out some samples below from CEF’s featured work!

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Mayor’s Landlord Roundtable 2018

“Nothing we’re doing in Durham right now is more important than this.”
– Steve Schewel, Mayor of City of Durham, NC Government

These were the closing words at the third annual Mayor’s Landlord Roundtable, which took place on Monday at Trinity Avenue Presbyterian Church. The Roundtable is an annual event dedicated to engaging private housing providers towards the goal of ending homelessness by creating access to affordable housing. Over 115 property owners and managers, tenants, community organizations, and housing advocates came together to share experiences, brainstorm solutions, and explore the opportunities and complexities of Durham’s private rental market.

We are so grateful and thankful for the host of collaborators who volunteered their time at the 2018 Mayor’s Landlord Roundtable! A special shoutout to the 13 table facilitators, Alliance Behavioral Healthcare for providing refreshments, childcare and photography volunteers, hands-on support from Housing for New Hope staff, and Trinity Ave Presbyterian Church for hosting the event. A huge shoutout to all of our speakers who opened up the conversation, including Mayor Steve Schewel, Anthony Scott and Denita Johnson ( Durham Housing Authority ), Terry Allebaugh ( North Carolina Coalition to End Homelessness), Ryan Fehrman ( Families Moving Forward). Big ups also to Megan Noor and Gino Nuzzolillo for their phenomenal event coordination!

The Roundtable took place as part of the Unlocking Doors Initiative, a community collaborative coordinated by CEF. To learn more about this Initiative:

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Introducing the CEF Housing Justice Fellowship!

We are launching a new one-year fellowship program focused on local housing access and advocacy! Beginning in July 2018, two Housing Justice Fellows (each with four years of Advocate and volunteer leadership experience at CEF) will begin working in our offices to launch new initiatives that directly meet the felt needs and opportunities in our Durham and Orange County communities.

What is the vision for each Housing Justice Fellow?

Liz Brown, 2018 Durham Fellow

In Durham

to develop CEF Members’ capabilities to lead in local affordable housing and anti-poverty advocacy

  • Supporting Member engagement in policy-making and advocacy to build political power in decision-making
  • Deepening relationships with local advocacy partners
  • Developing creative pathways for Member ownership and leadership within CEF
  • Cultivating leadership within CEF to sustain this work for coming years

This fellowship will drive participation of Members in local policy and systems leadership, whose personal stories and wisdom have a transformative impact on policy-making and political dialogue.

Leah Whitehead, 2018 Chapel Hill Fellow

In Chapel Hill

to develop and pilot an initiative with partners to collaboratively increase housing opportunities

  • Recruiting and growing relationships with landlord partners
  • Working together with Members, Advocates, and collaborative programs to successfully secure stable housing for Members
  • Engaging in housing advocacy & Member organizing initiatives in Orange County
  • Crafting infrastructure and securing support to sustain this work for coming years

This fellowship will act as a force multiplier, collaborating with staff from 5+ housing programs across Orange County to jointly support sustained landlord relationships and successfully house program participants.

Who are the inaugural Housing Justice Fellows?

The two Fellowship positions have been crafted both with the felt needs of our two communities at heart, and the distinct gifts of two of our graduating Advocates in mind. Liz Brown and Leah Whitehead both have four years of experience as volunteer leaders with CEF, and will be able to hit the ground running on these catalytic initiatives.

Why Housing Justice?

Housing is one of the most complex pieces of the puzzle in the array of services that CEF helps Members to navigate. Rental housing costs have risen dramatically in Orange and Durham Counties over recent years, causing large-scale displacement of lower-income households and increased challenges in housing placement for individuals transitioning out of homelessness. In Orange County, 90% of renter households who earn less than $35,000 are cost-burdened, ie. spending an unaffordable proportion (more than 30%) of their income on housing. In Durham, for every 100 extremely low-income renter households, only 38 rental units are affordable to them. We know that systemic change is necessary and that we must take a long-view approach to opening up opportunities for CEF Members.

CEF has been an active leader in local systems advocacy and service coordination to address the mounting housing crisis, including everything from pursuing cultural organizing through our locally-famous Advocacy Choir, to anchoring a public-private city-wide initiative to increase housing opportunities for voucher-holders. CEF is strategically situated to effect community-level change alongside our direct efforts for change with individual Members. We have collaboratively built momentum and partnerships in affordable housing advocacy over recent years, and have an opportunity to lean into deeper, impactful responses to community needs through the work of these two Fellows.

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Legal Aid Clinic in 2017

Through CEF’s Orange Community Hub, CEF Members can work on a multitude of issues at the same time by walking into a single space! With amazing partnerships with Legal Aid and other affordable community lawyers, we offer an accessible clinic where Members can address legal barriers to employment and housing, such as expunging a misdemeanor from one’s criminal record or fighting an unlawful eviction.

 

 

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Congratulations Donna

Congratulations to Donna Carrington, CEF’s Housing Stabilization Specialist for winning the Humanitarian Service Award from Duke Chapel!

“As a change agent and a dedicated champion, Donna has worked tirelessly with Members to navigate crises, access resources, budget, repair credit, save money and build stability. She brings her full self with authenticity and courage, often drawing from the depths of her own experiences to offer support to others as they walk their own paths!”

Read more about the award and the amazing work that Donna does here:  https://today.duke.edu/2017/10/duke-chapel-service-award-goes-2-durham-community-leaders

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Unlocking Doors Video

Produced by CEF for the Unlocking Doors Initiative and the 2017 Mayor’s Landlord Roundtable.

The Unlocking Doors Initiative is a partnership between landlords, non-profits, the City and the Durham Housing Authority. With visionary new leadership at the DHA and a groundswell of community support, we are at a crucial juncture in Durham. Mayor Bill Bell has issued a challenge for us to lease up individuals and families, including veterans, to permanently end their homelessness. Landlords and non-profits, will you consider joining us as a Key Partner?

Learn more at unlockingdoorsdurham.org

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Annual Report 2016 : Transformative Community

“We share these stories, and are reminded just how profound it is to be a part CEF. We share them with gratitude for the whole wide CEF family—Members, Advocates, supporters, and friends. Thank you for reading, writing, and living this story with us!”

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David: Crafting Community

How one Member’s passion for quilting is spreading love and togetherness at CEF 

David believes that every quilt is an opportunity for connection. “Our society is losing that personal touch, and in that process of us making that quilt, if someone is bothered about something, we have the chance to talk about it.”  Originally from Sanford, North Carolina, David moved to Chapel Hill last summer to receive better medical care for his sickness and quickly found himself without a place to stay. “I’ve never experienced homelessness until now.”

David’s passion for quilting is life long. “I have been quilting for 30 years or more. When I was young I couldn’t play outside too much, I used to sew my mother’s clothes and when I got older I took an industrial sewing class.

David was initially connected to CEF through the IFC men’s shelter.  “I wanted to see all I could about all the people around, and I found out about CEF the day during that time I was sick. He (his advocate Kevin) was just like a brother. What I did is a lot of the meetings, and during that time and I was going to Opportunity Class. I was just trying to get a feel for what things were going.” David also enjoys engaging in Talking Sidewalks and CEF’s Advocacy Choir, where he performed for the CEF TED Talk in Memorial Hall this past April. His weekly meetings with his Advocate Kevin, however, sometimes included searching for local quilting groups to join “I liked taking something you would throw away and making something beautiful.”

David with his Advocate Kevin at the 2017 CEF Graduation Celebration!
David passing out fabric from his trove of quilting supplies!

  In February of 2017, David, alongside Kevin, launched the first ever Quilting Circle in the Chapel Hill office. The Quilting Circle allows Members and Advocates to enjoy a community that socializes, relaxes and celebrates each other. “The thing about old-fashioned quilting is that it takes everyone together in the circle to make it. Quilting forces us to talk to each other about things and, in turn, we start to form a strong bond.” Each week, that is exactly what Members and Advocates do, gathering in the CEF office for a collaborative craft and safe space to support and celebrate one another. David, who is currently staying in the shelter, provides all the fabric and supplies himself. He has successfully gotten some supplies donated through the Scrap Exchange in Durham. His quilting projects vary from week to week as he brings new projects to keep people interested and learning. “I just take everything and look at the goodness of it because you can turn everything around and make it pretty, Cause you know, everybody has faults, everyone has needs, everyone is human so live and let live.”

The first quilt is set to be put up in the office this summer. This is my way of giving back for everything y’all have done for me. If it wasn’t for CEF in this moment, in this time, these people would not be able to come together and make something so beautiful.”

So what is David looking forward to? ”To be in my own place so I can keep on quilting. I am going to quilt and sew until the day I leave the earth.”

Sound amazing?  Come to Quilting Circle any Thursday at 6:00pm in the Chapel Hill office and see for yourself! No experience necessary.

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CEF: Community Empowerment Fund

Chapel Hill: 919-200-0233 Durham: 919-797-9233

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