Candy’s Dirt Press – Dwell With Dignity and Shared Housing Bring the Holiday Spirit to Dallas’ Homeless

We love the holidays. There’s always fun parties like our Candy’sDirt Staff Meeting to go to, shopping, spending time with friends and family, plus festive holiday decorations to put us in the mood.

The holidays can be really tough for a lot of people though, especially those who, through various circumstances, have suddenly become homeless with nowhere to go. Fortunately Dallas has groups like Dwell With Dignity and Shared Housing Center to help these families to have a fresh start and hope again.

Shared Housing is a group very near and dear to my heart. They truly do so much for so many and they don’t just talk about breaking the cycle of homelessness, they make it happen every day.

As a Lifestylist, I believe in giving back to the industries that have been so good to me, and this year after being involved with Shared Housing for almost 20 years they asked me to be board president. It’s been a wonderful opportunity to work so closely with these families and see what a difference just a hug or a kind word can make. So many times our homeless population is judged by where they are, not who they are, and people don’t take the time to listen and find out what needs to happen to get them in the right direction.  I am so proud of the changes we have helped these families make and to see many of them now successful, kids in college and coming back to help us help other families.

Dwell With Dignity is a group that I had always heard about but had never seen or experienced what they do until yesterday. Like Shared Housing, they are dedicated to changing lives, and their mission is to “help families escape poverty and homelessness through design; one household at a time.”

Tiffany and her two kiddos have thrived in the Shared Housing program and were ready to start their new life together. The Dwell With Dignity team fell in love with them as much as we have and offered to turn her new apartment into a home. Take a look at what Tiffany was able to go home to!

Imagine having two babies and worrying about if they would have a safe place to sleep every night — you would love to be able to have some presents to put under the tree from Santa, or even to have a tree, but that is the least of your worries. Thanks to Dwell With Dignity and their family home sponsor Holiday Warehouse Tiffany and her kids not only have a safe and beautiful new home, they have three trees with lots of presents from Santa and his elves.

When Tiffany walked through the door to see her new home I cried. Tiffany cried. Heck all of us started crying tears of joy except for the kids – they were too busy looking at everything, especially their new room!

Program and volunteer manager for Dwell with Dignity Laura Cismesia gave us a tour and filled us in on all of the special touches. Even though everything looked like it just came from a showroom, their team spends a lot of time with the families understanding what their unique needs are and makes a special effort to incorporate any items they may have that are special to them.

There was a cute white rocker in the kids room — Dwell With Dignity sanded, painted and reupholstered this family piece that had belonged to Tiffany’s grandfather. All of the artwork in the home was made by Dwell With Dignity volunteers, and some of the furniture was a donation they had painted and given new life to.

Executive Director Lisa Nelson shared with us that they provide not only furniture and design talents, they also stock the pantries with nutritious food, have the pots, pans and utensils to cook with — they even had cookies and hot cocoa mix for the kids.

They really thought of every little detail, including baby’s first Christmas ornaments on the tree and a detail that made me cry yet again — a brand new double stroller to make it easier for Tiffany to use public transportation with the kids.