Family Homelessness

Because of their make-up (ie. husband/wife, older boys), many of these families would not have been accepted in other facilities in the city. Many traditional homeless shelters only accept residents of a single sex. Even if a family can find shelter for all its members, it means that mothers cannot stay with their older sons; fathers must leave their daughters; husbands are separated from wives. How can a family begin to address the dilemmas that face them when they are not allowed to plan and stay together?

The Dorothy Day House keeps homeless families together, creating a safe haven and a community for entire families. This is part of the Dorothy Day tradition. At our house, people in conditions of common hardship bond together to mutually support and encourage one another as they face and overcome their shared obstacles of poverty and homelessness. Family members work together to clean and maintain the house and to cook meals. Residents often provide childcare for one another to enable individuals to search for work and to attend job interviews. This home-like atmosphere fosters self-esteem and uplifts the human spirit. It creates one of the most vital ingredients for escaping poverty—hope.

Our Services

The services provided by our staff, volunteers, and supportive agencies include (but are not limited to):

  • Food, clothing, and shelter
  • Educational resources and guidance
  • Parenting skills
  • Employment counseling
  • Prospective job contacts
  • Transportation
  • Referrals for child care
  • Financial and budgeting advice
  • Counseling and case management services
  • Advocacy and mentoring
  • Access to sources of permanent housing
  • New personal relationships which provide a system of healthy support and encouragement for the future.
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Growing & Building!

We’re Building a Village, and your support to our $5 Million Capital Campaign helps us reach our current goal of serving up to 12 families at a time!

May 2016 marked ten years since we accepted our first family into the Dorothy Day House. Since then, we have accepted sixty-five (65) additional families and have seen our ministry grow by leaps and bounds.

In 2018 our donor base included 1063 monetary donors, nearly 2,000 in-kind donors and hundreds of volunteers. Together, all of these people are making a difference!

Our Ministry Team, Board of Directors and Staff are all committed to our service to homeless families. We know that we are filling a unique need in Memphis and we know there are thousands of people in our city and surrounding area who care about homeless families and want to participate in our efforts to make a difference in the lives of countless families.

In September 2016, we launched a 5-year, $5 million capital campaign to “Build a Village.” The expansion will quadruple our capacity, allowing us to grow ~ from housing 3 families ~ to housing 12 concurrently. Thus far, we have raised $2.6 million. The funds will:

~ Help purchase and renovate 2 additional houses at 1161 Peabody & 321 Bellevue;
~ Hire the staff needed to operate the larger organization efficiently; and
~ provide operational funds throughout the campaign.

Click below to help us reach our $5 million goal! Thank you for helping us as “We’re Building a Village!”