Housing for New Hope celebrates graduates, milestones

Jun. 30, 2013 @ 10:14 PM

The rain that fell Sunday was likened to the tears that were shed during the graduation and milestone ceremony for Housing for New Hope.

Inside the Duke University Chapel, people were recognized for having overcome adversity and taking another chance at happy, productive and successful life.

“These are people who have been faced with homelessness, addiction, having their families turn their backs on them and other internal things as well as external things,” said Terry Allebaugh, executive director of Housing for New Hope. “It took perseverance to get to this point and we’re here today to honor those who made that transition.

“You have been very successful in finding housing and maintaining a positive life and we want to say ‘way to go.’

“Our success comes when you don’t become homeless again but continue on with your lives,” Allebaugh continued. “You make our housing into a home. There are two great things happening here, the change you’re making in your life and each of you are making Durham a better place to live.”

Housing for New Hope began in 1992 and is a non-profit organization that serves the needs of homeless individuals and those at risk of homelessness in Durham and Orange counties. Its mission is to prevent and end homelessness by providing access to healthcare, housing and integrated services.

The Rev. Robert Kaynor of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church told the graduates and those celebrating milestones that they “never cease to inspire me.”

“If we don’t keep focus on where we’re going, we’ll lose our way and that’s why it’s so important to honor those here today because they know what can happen when you lose your way,” Kaynor said. “You have worked for it. You have paid your dues. You have struggles and you understand. Y’all know how precious a home is. It’s not the four walls or the roof. It’s you.”

Several graduates have gone on to secure permanent employment and housing and even married. One is Danny Turner.

Recognized by Marigny Manson, a Housing for New Hope outreach nurse, Turner fought back tears as he said thank you.

“I know what it’s like to be down and have nothing,” he said. “But I never gave up. I know how hard it can get.”

“Thank you. Thank you for your courage, your humility and for the ways you have let other people’s love change you,” Kaynor said. “Y’all have reached some important milestones and we take some comfort because if it is possible for you, it is possible for us.”