Tag Archives: PLM Families Together

Private Charity


I posted yesterday about what it would take for the Left and the Right to come together on social safety net programs.

There are three aspects of the programs that, in my mind, create and fuel the differences between the two sides.  They are:

  1. How do we measure
  2. Do they end
  3. Are they moral and consistent with the concept of Liberty

Just this evening I come across a story concerning a local charity that I love and support:

Raleigh, N.C. — Three years ago, Dyretta Smith and her son were homeless.

“I got laid off from my job, and when I got laid off from my job, everything started to fall apart,” said Smith.

One of her biggest challenges was keeping her then-11-year-old son engaged in school.

“I was determined, and he was determined,” Smith said. “He’s such a smart little boy. I was not going to let the things that happened in our life get him off track.”

For many, the face of homelessness might be someone on the street begging for money or someone sleeping on a park bench.

But there’s a side of homelessness that’s not so noticeable.

PLM Families Together, a nonprofit founded in 1980 as Pan Lutheran Ministries, helps homeless families with housing and other services.

It gave Smith and her son a fresh start.

Smith is now back on her feet with a full-time job and her own apartment, and she even volunteers with PLM Families Together.

Her son is now a ninth-grade honor student at a Wake County high school.

A beautiful story of human kindness, strength and the power of an indomitable will.  The exact model of how such gentle examples of human kindness ought to work.

And how does it work?

 Families that are “literally” homeless — meaning they have no place to go and are living in places not meant for habitation, are served by PLM Families Together by moving into one of our 10 Short-term Housing apartments.  Once they are safe and warm in the privacy of single-family living, they will stay, at no cost, for 2-4 months.

And this is when the real transformation begins.

Each family works one-on-one with a Mentor Advocate (Masters-level Social Worker), to create and carry out a plan of action.  During that time, the family meets weekly with the Mentor Advocate.  They deposit 50% of their income into an escrow account, and attend PLM Families Together workshops on topics like budgeting, renting, and how to work with a landlord.  Mentor Advocates also coordinate special services as needed (disability, educational assessment, school transportation, food, furniture, transportation, etc.).

The goal of Short-term Housing:  Help a family re-gain its stability and return to independence and permanent housing — paid for with their own money.

But it doesn’t end there.

When a family leaves Short-term Housing and moves into its own place, care continues through “Aftercare.”  Mentor Advocate support and guidance — plus landlord mediation — last an additional 12-14 months.  This key piece of the PLM Families Together model increases the chances of continued success for the family.

The assistance is coupled with two key aspects:

1.  It ends

2.  It helps to build skills such that the recipient is possessed of skills to help cope with the vicissitudes of life.


Where Is Pino

I have largely been absent for the last week or so.  I am spending most of my non-work time organizing a BBQ fundraiser here in Raleigh.

We are selling BBQ plates to raise money for a local charity:

PLM Families Together is developing a new housing service that moves families directly from homelessness into housing or from other shelters into housing. Rather than having families move from shelter program to shelter program in today’s times when the short term stay at shelters is not enough for family stabilization, we will focus on stable housing first. Once housed, we will continue to work with the family for 12 months, helping them learn the skills for budgeting and working with landlords that is needed to maintain that housing. Housing first reduces the number of transitions for the family. Initial rental subsidy will be available for housing and will gradually decrease as families meet their goals; a less expensive model than renting our own apartments.

Additionally, we are selling tickets that will donate a plate to Urban Ministries of Durham.

Urban Ministries of Durham (UMD) welcomes approximately more than 6,000 people each year who come seeking food, shelter, clothing and supportive services.

UMD is the point of entry, triage and emergency services in the Durham homelessness continuum of care network.  Our programs are designed to:

  • Help prevent homelessness by providing food and clothing to offset living expenses and by referring guests to others in the community who may be able to provide additional help;
  • Assist those who are homeless by providing emergency shelter, stabilization assistance such as recovery programs and medical referrals, and  to help them connect with the resources that will enable them to return to stable housing as quickly as possible;
  • Foster collaboration with community partners so that coordinated efforts can provide needed  longer term housing and supportive service needs; and
  • Offer support with dignity and compassion to neighbors in need, regardless of  their ability to leave homelessness at the time.

It’s been very busy and challenging, but the event will be held this weekend.  I  can’t wait to see the whole of the experience result in success.

By the way, if you’re interested in participating, I have the ability to sell tickets through PayPal and you can contribute to the donation of a plate of Carolina BBQ to the folks over at UMD.  Just drop me a note in the comments or e-mail me at:


I hope to resume more full time blogging very soon!