For many Americans, home is a two-story house in the suburbs, a city duplex or an apartment in a quiet neighborhood. However, for a growing population of working families, home is a cramped room without
a kitchen in an often run-down motel. The reasons are many and varied, including that either they earn too little to afford the up-front costs of an apartment, or because of a poor credit record, past evictions or a
criminal history precludes them from renting.
Founded in 1980, Families Together is the largest nonprofit dedicated to housing families with children experiencing homelessness in Wake County, North Carolina. In 2015, the More Than a Roof collaborative was
launched through funding from the United Way of the Greater Triangle with the aim of addressing the needs of the growing number of families living in motels.
More Than a Roof uses a multidisciplinary approach to moving this often invisible population toward economic self-sufficiency and stabilization. Specifically, Families Together provides access to emergency short-term
family housing, rapid housing placement and post-housing stabilization services, as well as financial literacy, transportation assistance, credit repair, and education regarding landlord-tenant rights. Project CATCH
provides early intervention and developmental screenings for children ages 0–8, case management to address the various family needs, and emergency and short-term childcare assistance.
The Triangle Literacy Council provides literacy evaluation and tutoring. Catholic Charities provides housing placement and case‐management services, and Learning Together conducts behavioral assessments and
counseling services for children.
“Since 2016, More Than a Roof has helped 30 families move out of motels and into stable homes, with 75% retaining their housing for at least a year and 70% taking advantage of our comprehensive
case-management services,” said Lisa Rowe, Executive Director. “By leveraging the respective strengths and resources of each of our partners, More Than a Roof is able to do more for the children and
families of Wake County living in motels than any agency could do alone. We remain committed to strengthening and growing our networks to boost the ability of our families to succeed.”