In Features

After Fleeing Domestic Abuse, Tia and Her Children Were Lost. Families Moving Forward Brought Them Home


There are 2,000 people in the Greater Triangle experiencing homeless on any given night and of them, 590 live in Durham. The path home isn’t an easy one but thanks to organizations like Families Moving Forward, families in a homelessness crisis have access to emergency shelter they desperately need.

Tia was one of them. She and her children came to Families Moving Forward in 2017 after escaping a domestic violence situation following her mother’s death.

“I came to Families Moving Forward with an attitude and pregnant. [I was] mad because I’m pregnant, mad because I have nowhere to live and no job,” Tia shared. “I never wanted to die. But I didn’t feel like I wanted to live either. I just wanted to give up and hope and pray that someone would take care of my kids.”

The team at Families Moving Forward was able to support her whole family and provide the critical support needed to get back on their feet.

“Everybody opened their arms to me and my kids. They gave me some hope.”

Tia and her family received more than just loving, emergency shelter during the months they spent at Families Moving Forward.

During their period of instability, Tia’s son Cameron failed his End-of-Grade (EOG) test and was given the opportunity to try again. He was given another chance to graduate. Families Moving Forward provided math tutoring that helped him pass his EOG math test with a score that was higher than he needed.

They also connected Tia with a therapist and grief counselor, who helped her process the grief she carried from losing her mother to breast cancer and treated her depression with much-needed medication.

“Once she started to engage in our program, we witnessed this strong and resilient woman soften, open to her vulnerability, and started creating positive change for herself and her three children,” said Shana Carignan, Families Moving Forward’s Development Director.

Tia now lives in a 3-bedroom, 2-bath home with a front and back yard that her children safely play in. She credits the team at Families Moving Forward with the stability she’s experiencing today.

“Sometimes you just need someone to care something for you just for you to move. Just to get up out of bed that day, just to feel like you’re somebody. I owe so much to these people. They gave me life again.”