At Our House, we are game changers. We offer children and families experiencing homelessness the tools, support, and education they need to thrive. By tackling homelessness at its source, we help the generation experiencing homelessness today, and break the cycle for those most likely to
experience it tomorrow.
Our House breaks the chains of homelessness by providing quality early childhood education and comprehensive support services for families experiencing homelessness.
In 2014, Our House and Genesis Shelter merged to become one organization, serving families experiencing homelessness at two sites under the name and executive leadership of Our House. As a unified organization, we carry the legacy of an exceptional early childhood education center and emergency shelter.
History of Our House
Our House opened its doors in March 1988 to offer reliable, free childcare to metro Atlanta families experiencing homelessness. The founders, a group of local community volunteers along with Reverend Joanna Adams, took notice that families experiencing homelessness were required to leave emergency shelters early every morning—despite the weather conditions, despite the health status of all family members, and regardless of whether or not they had anywhere to go. The parents of these families, mostly single mothers, were given a relatively short amount of time to secure both employment and other housing before being required to permanently leave their shelters. Moved by this hardship, the founders realized that without reliable childcare, these parents were trapped in the cycle of unemployment, poverty, and homelessness.
Our House founders also understood that to effectively combat homelessness, programs and services had to address the root causes of homelessness: lack of child care, lack of education, and lack of work skills among parents experiencing homelessness.
Our House grew to meet these needs by offering year-round, free, NAEYC accredited childcare; comprehensive support services for families; and a credential-earning job-training program.
History of Genesis Shelter
Genesis Shelter was founded in 1994 in response to an alarming upward trend in the number of new mothers leaving hospitals with their newborn babies, only to live in their cars or on the streets. Co-founders Rabbi Alvin Sugarman and Reverend Joanna Adams brought together a coalition of sixteen faith-based organizations who shared a collective mission to combat homelessness in metro Atlanta. Together, they formed Genesis Shelter, to serve these homeless newborns and their mothers.
Genesis opened its doors in 1994 in a facility provided by The Temple, and provided services there for ten years. In 2004, recognizing the need to expand its capacity, Genesis relocated to the shelter’s current site at 173 Boulevard, a 76-bed facility with the daily capacity to serve 18 infants and their families. In 20 years of operations, Genesis provided life-transforming services to more than 3,000 people.
Largest Program Grant in 30 Year History of Our House Atlanta, GA May 25, 2017: In a powerful statement of... Learn more
Our House opens two new preschool classrooms at the Atlanta site – an additional infant classroom, a nd a new... Learn more
Our House merges with Genesis Shelter, which adds an emergency shelter to Our House’s core programs, and also allows for... Learn more
Our House recognized with the “Georgia Alliance to End Homelessness Bridge Builder Award,” given to organizations that serve as outstanding... Learn more
Our House is awarded the Bank of America Neighborhood Builders Award. The Neighborhood Builders program provides grants and leadership development... Learn more
Our House receives a Martin Luther King Jr. Community Service Award from Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health. The... Learn more
Tyese Lawyer holds a Master’s Degree in Psychology and has worked with vulnerable and at risk populations for more than two decades, with over 20 years of experience in managing non-profit programs for homeless and low income families. She has also served as a NAEYC Validator and presently serves as Chair on the DeKalb County Continuum of Care Board of Directors. Ms. Lawyer has been Our House’s chief executive since 2004.
Laura Cline holds a Master's Degree in Education and Human Development from the George Washington University. She has more than 7 years of experience in the field of Early Childhood Education, preceded by two years in the Peace Corps and several years working in non-profit organizations with diverse populations. Laura began her work at Our House in September 2012; she and her team of site directors are responsible for managing the operations at both Our House early learning sites, and working closely with the family services team to ensure effective delivery of services.
Sean Monroe, joined the Our House team in 2017, relocating from his former position in Richmond, Virginia. He holds a Master's in Public Administration, and has over 10 years of experience in human services/homeless services with a demonstrated record of excellence in case management, program development, and advocacy. Sean’s passion for working with individuals in crisis led to his being named to the Top 40 Professionals under 40 list in Richmond and completing the Emerging Non-profit Leadership Program.
Diane Douglass brings over 20 years of fundraising, sales and marketing experience to Our House and has a demonstrated record of success in the areas of revenue generation and the recruitment and cultivation of productive fundraising boards and staff. She holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration. Diane came to Our House from Chicago, where she was the Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Black Ensemble Theater.
Kim Massenburg joined the Our House team in 2017, relocating from Chicago where she was the Director of Social Services at the YMCA. Kim brings more than 10 years of clinical direct service experience with families, including more than seven years of program management experience. She holds a Master’s of Counseling Psychology, is a Certified Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Counselor and Certified Domestic Violence Professional, and is in progress to complete a Doctorate in Education, specializing in Counselor Education and Supervision.
Adele Gipson, Chair
Tony Smith, Vice Chair
Serta Simmons Bedding
Janora Hawkins, Secretary
Fragomen, Del Ray, Bernsen & Loewy, LLP
Lisa Brown, Treasurer
Larry “Brent” Adams
Private Bank of Buckhead
Brendan M. Branon
Delta Air Lines, Inc.
Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.
Arnall Golden & Gregory
Serta Simmons Bedding, LLC
MedAssets, Inc. (Retired)
Ernst & Young
Epic Insurance Brokers & Consultants
Michael J. Hertz
United Distributors, Inc.
KCL Resolutions, LLC
The Westminster Schools
Rodney Pierre, Jr.
U.S. Trust, Bank of America
David Neil Sharpton
The Home Depot
Marti Merritt Walsh
The Coca-Cola Company
Board Member Emeritus
Advisory Council Leadership
Advisory Council Members
D. Gayle Gellerstedt
Rabbi Alvin Sugarman
Alfred B. Adams, Jr.
Reverend Joanna Adams
Ann W. Cramer