Family House serves as a homeless shelter for all

Published: Nov. 23, 2022 at 11:55 AM EST
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Hanging out with family for the holidays can feel like a chore; but for some, it’s all they have.

Lexie Thomas and her son, Levi, were evicted from their home in early September. They’ve bounced around from place to place ever since and, on Tuesday, they landed at Family House.

“It feels good to know that you have a stable place to stay and stay warm,” Thomas said. “Just being able to spend another Thanksgiving with him (Levi) is awesome.”

The shelter will give the pair a home for the holiday, along with 35 other families.

Family house is one of the only shelter’s in the area where families can live and stay together.

Most shelters only take in men, women, or children – not all three. Providing for one specific set of needs – rather than many - makes the shelter’s job easier. The downside is that most families seeking assistance through a shelter get split up. Mom goes to one shelter; dad goes to another; and the kids could end up at a third.

“When Family House was founded, it was originally founded as a women’s and children’s shelter. But people who were here were sick of watching dad go off down the street -- children crying, mom crying. And it just created a lot of instability in the family,” Family House Board President Dino Peluso said. “A strong family unit creates bonds that last a lifetime and strength to help end homelessness.”

“So, being able to create that stability in an unstable time is what we’re trying to accomplish.”

Stability at Family House this holiday looks like a Thanksgiving dinner served to residents by volunteers and donated by Papa Moose’s Donuts. All 36 families will enjoy the meal together, family-style.

“Family is everything,” Peluso said. “Where would you be without your family? Where would I be without mine? Same thing for the people here. Their families just happen to be a little less fortunate. So, the fact that we can give them that hand up is great. And the community helping and all that stuff just makes it more special.”

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