Category Archives: News

November 28th is Georgia Gives Day

This year Georgia Gives Day is teaming up with Giving Tuesday on November 28, 2017. Georgia Gives Day is an online giving initiative established through the Georgia Center for Non-profits and a network of non-profits across the state of Georgia. Our House will be participating in Georgia Gives Day this year and hoping to build on last year’s success. We have a $10,000 goal with a $15,000 stretch goal to gain all matching funds from an anonymous donor.

We know our mission to break the chains of homelessness is important to you and we hope you will join us on this day of giving and help us reach our goal. Please support Our House and give on Giving Tuesday at

Save the Date: Cocktails, Confetti & Cake Gala

The gala to celebrate Our House’s 30 years of serving the Atlanta community will be held on February 10, 2018 at the Atlanta History Center. There will be a DJ, cocktails, dinner and dancing as well as a live and silent auction to benefit families with children experiencing homelessness. For more information about the gala and becoming a host or sponsor or to purchase tickets, click here.

Director Cagle Visits for Georgia Pre-K Week

Bobby Cagle, Director of the Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) visited Our House and read to the Pre-K classroom for Georgia Pre-K Week. We thoroughly enjoyed hosting Director Cagle and we are grateful to him for spending time with the children. Our House would also like to congratulate Director Cagle on his appointment to lead the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services. Director Cagle has been a positive force for protecting children in Georgia.

Shelter Renovations have Begun

Our shelter renovation has begun! Plans for the shelter renovation have been finalized and permits obtained. Construction began on September 7, 2017. Our House will demolish the existing shared bathrooms and replace them with private bathrooms in 14 of the 18 residential units. The four rooms that will not have private bathrooms will be short-term stay rooms – families will be able to move into other rooms when they become available. Two shared bathrooms will remain, for use by residents in the four short-term rooms. Renovations will take place in phases in order to minimize disruption to services provided. The renovation will take an estimated six months to complete, and we do not anticipate that the project will cause a significant reduction in our service level.

Our House established a board committee to guide the renovation project, which includes professionals in the construction industry. We also engaged award-winning construction management firm Silverman Construction, which has recently won a number of accolades for their involvement in the Ponce City Market project. In addition to our recent classroom renovations in Atlanta, Silverman managed Our House’s renovation project that added a new wing to our Decatur location, which was completed in 2009. Silverman Construction has a unique perspective on the needs of our clients and on our needs as a nonprofit partner.


The trauma of homelessness causes negative social, emotional, and health consequences to adults and children. By adding private bathrooms and restoring a sense of privacy, dignity, and normalcy to the lives of the families we serve, we expect better physical and mental health outcomes as families work through the traumatic experience of homelessness, and an easier transition to mainstream housing. We are pleased to further align our program with best practices in human service delivery in order to provide the best experience possible for the families in our care. The construction supervisor is currently estimating that the first phase will be done in December with the second phase wrapping up in February.

Bright from the Start’s Commissioner Jacobs Visits Decatur Pre-K

On August 31, 2017, the Our House Decatur Pre-K received a very special visit from Amy M. Jacobs, Commissioner of Bright From the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning. Commissioner Jacobs spoke to Linda Stouffer of WSB-TV about the importance of Georgia’s Pre-K program and spent some time playing and interacting with our children. Our Pre-K children benefit so much from having positive interactions with so many adults who want to see them succeed.

Our House, Inc. Awarded Transformational $900,000 Grant

Largest Program Grant in 30 Year History of Our House

Atlanta, GA May 25, 2017:  In a powerful statement of support for the importance of early childhood education, a local foundation recently awarded Our House a grant of $900,000 to support high-quality early learning programs for Atlanta children experiencing homelessness. Over the next three years, the transformational grant will ensure that Our House achieves its strategic goals of programmatic and operational excellence. Grant funding will provide general scholarships for homeless children to attend Our House’s early childhood education program and will allow for the expansion of an existing partnership that provides daily intervention services for children with special needs.

Homelessness is a traumatic experience, and in recent years, research has become more and more conclusive regarding the effects of trauma. For children, the trauma of homelessness can cause developmental delays and behavioral health challenges that, when left unaddressed, become barriers to successful learning.

To combat the problem, children at Our House receive developmental assessments early on in order to determine their individual needs and assess the best way to prepare them for Kindergarten. Many homeless children have special needs that require intervention to be ready for school. In addition to regular classroom activities, Our House partners with The Adaptive Learning Center to provide daily intervention services for children with identified need for special attention.

Grant support will allow Our House to place a specialist from The Adaptive Learning Center at the Atlanta site for the first time, and will support continued service at the Decatur site, expanding the partnership from one site to two.

Funding will also provide scholarships to fully cover the costs of children not covered by Head Start, allowing Our House to continue to offer services at no cost for children who are most at risk of poor educational outcomes.

Our House provides shelter to live and education to thrive. The mission of Our House is to break the chains of homelessness by providing quality early childhood education and comprehensive support services for families experiencing homelessness.

Our House, Our Dreams Gala: Fundraising Announcement

1 Jackie Gingrich Cushman Gala HonoreeWith almost 350 guests in attendance, Our House’s benefit gala generated more than $215,000 –nearly 15% more than the goal! The program started off with a welcome by the night’s emcee and advisory council member, Jovita Moore. Board Chair, Aaron Danzig, introduced advisory council member and gala honoree, Jackie Gingrich Cushman, and presented her with an award for her service and dedication to Our House.

After Cushman’s remarks, Our House President and CEO, Tyese Lawyer, made brief remarks and attendees viewed a moving video presentation about the impact of Our House (view below). The live auction and fund-a-need drew spirited participation and contributed to the success of the evening.

Our House Board Member, Ellen Persons, had this to say about the event, “Having attended the Our House Gala for six years now, I can say that last night was far and away the best event yet. The space was magnificent, food was delicious, it was a great turnout, and the enthusiasm was spectacular,” which sums up the evening quite well!

Our House would like to extend a special thank you to all of our gala sponsors, patrons and hosts. We also want to recognize the Gala Chair, Vickie Hunter, and the entire Gala Committee for their hard work.  We invite you to join us next year as we celebrate 30 years of service to our community and honor community leader Stephanie Blank.

Check out the Gala video presentation below:

2017 Gala Video from Tyese Lawyer on Vimeo.

Announcing Our House, Our Dreams Gala Honoree: Jackie Gingrich Cushman

Our House is thrilled to announce Jackie Gingrich Cushman as the honoree for the annual Our House, Our Dreams Gala. We are pleased to celebrate Jackie for her work in the community and for her commitment and service to Our House.

Honorary Chair, Jackie Gingrich Cushman (center) with Our House CEO, Tyese Lawyer (right) and Michael Hertz (left), Board Member and Chair of Our House Fundraising Committee.

Gala Honoree, Jackie Gingrich Cushman (center) with Our House CEO, Tyese Lawyer (right) and Michael Hertz (left), Chair of the Our House Fundraising Committee and Gala Patron & Host Committee.

Jackie became involved with Our House (then Genesis Shelter) after her son was born. Inspired by the challenges of motherhood, she had a desire to help other families who were raising children while also grappling with temporary homelessness. For more than 15 years, she has helped Our House by serving on the board and the marketing committee, fundraising, adopting families for Christmas, and volunteering with her husband Jimmy and with their children, Maggie and Robert.

The gala will be held at 6:30 on Saturday, February 4, 2017 at the Atlanta History Center. The night will include a silent and live auction, a wall of wine and live entertainment. We had a great turnout last year and hope you will join us this year to celebrate Jackie, and to support the mission of Our House.

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Our House on 11Alive’s Atlanta & Company

Our House CEO, Tyese Lawyer, and the chairman of the Board of Directors Marketing Committee, Marti Walsh, had a great conversation with Christine Pullara of Atlanta & Company on November 16 to discuss Our House’s new look and our opportunity to match gifts up to $10,000 on Georgia Gives Day. Check out the video for all the details!

Balser Giving Circle awards $25,000 to Our House

ATLANTA – October 28, 2016 – The Balser Professional Advisors Council’s giving circle has announced a $25,000 grant to Our House, a nonprofit organization that offers children and families experiencing homelessness the tools, support, and education they need to thrive. The grant was made after the group heard funding pitches from three nonprofit organizations that had been selected via a diligent vetting process.

Our House CEO, Tyese Lawyer, answers questions during the presentation at the Community Foundation.

Our House CEO, Tyese Lawyer, answers questions during the presentation at the Community Foundation.

The Balser Professional Advisors Council is a network of professional advisors including accountants, wealth managers and estate attorneys who have demonstrated an interest in philanthropy, both personally and professionally.  The group is a joint program of the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta and United Way of Greater Atlanta to provide opportunities for education, knowledge sharing and networking.

Our House works to break the chains of homelessness by providing quality early childhood education and comprehensive support to families experiencing homelessness. Our House will apply the grant to facility renovations that will include private bathrooms for families to use.

“During the pitch, the group was struck by the fact that families in shelters often don’t have much private space, including restroom facilities,” said Christy Eckoff, director of gift planning for the Community Foundation. “Something we take for granted in our own homes is a luxury to families experiencing homelessness. The group was pleased to be able to contribute to making Our House feel more like a home.”

Prior to making their pitch to the council, representatives from Our House and selected other nonprofits received presentation training from the Center for Civic Innovation. Their training included a seven-hour workshop on pitching techniques plus individual coaching sessions that were sponsored by the council.

The Balser Professional Advisors Council giving circle is a way for council participants to learn more about their community and the challenges faced by local residents. Members pool funding in order to make a collective grant to nonprofits, allowing for a more significant, collective contribution.

This year, the group decided to make an impact on the issue of the opportunity gap. According to Harvard and Berkley research about the metro Atlanta region, a person born in the lowest economic quartile here has just a four percent chance of reaching the uppermost economic quartile in his or her lifetime. Through the giving circle, members explored this issue, took a tour of our region to see select nonprofits doing good work for the community and worked collectively to develop a list of nonprofits addressing the issue for consideration of their grant.