Ann Arbor Volunteer Group Helping Homeless Turn A HouseN2Home
“HouseN2Home was founded with the idea that anyone exiting homelessness deserves to have a safe, warm, and inviting home. So, we gathered together as volunteers to provide furnishings to families and individuals transitioning out of local shelters.” says Ruth Ann Logue, co-founder of the organization.
“The idea for HouseN2Home was born in 2017, when a local single mother that we knew, found herself homeless and in a shelter with her three kids.” They were able to help find her housing, but quickly realized she needed so much more than a roof over her head to have a comfortable home,” said Logue. A group of her friends including Ginger Raymond, Liz Gadway, and Peggy Farrell joined together to help. They gathered gently used furniture and household items from their own homes and purchased other items to help establish the young woman establish hers.
Inspired by that experience the friends developed a shared mission to help others as a new organization called HouseN2Home. “Our goal was to provide beautiful homes for people coming out of a shelter. So that it was filled with everything they could possibly need. We were going to be that group who helped give them a fresh start.” says Peggy Farrell, one of the co-founders and treasurer of HouseN2Home. The group expanded to include about a dozen friends of friends and grew quickly from there. They moved 32 clients in 2019, and the following year during the depths of the COVID lockdown, they furnished 131 homes. By the end of 2021, that number almost doubled again.
They initially stored items in basements and garages, but the need of the community and the number of donations quickly overwhelmed that method. They were granted storage space in the former memory care unit of Ann Arbor’s St.
Joseph Mercy Hospital. What initially started as a couple of rooms, soon expanded to the entire unit. Donations of furniture and household items like dishes, silverware, and other kitchen items, fill one of the many rooms. Others contain, bedding, pillow, toys, art or electronics, and space for repairing and refinishing furniture that may need a little love.
Chuck Boyk’s family got involved with the organization through his daughter Emily, a 3rdyear law student. “She was working as a Student Attorney at the University of Michigan’s Child Advocacy Law Clinic, helping a formerly homeless client to regain custody of her children from foster care.” says Chuck. “HouseN2Home furnished her new home and our entire family helped with the move.
” Afterward, Emily Boyk showed photos of the furnished apartment at a hearing, which helped convince the court to grant her client custody of her children again.
HouseN2Home accepts donations of clean, highquality furniture, and household items. They also welcome financial support to sponsor moves. But what they desperately need are more volunteers. “We are at a critical point where the demand for our services has just exploded.” says Logue. “We’re getting requests to help someone several times a week. But our volunteer numbers haven’t necessarily kept up with that demand. If I could wave a magic wand, we would double the number of volunteers that are here.”
HN2H uses word of mouth, social media, and its website to request financial and furniture donations and recruit Individuals and groups to volunteer their time and resources. They also offer team-building experiences for organizations and corporations.
To volunteer, donate or sponsor a move, or for more information, contact HouseN2Home at www.housen2home.org