'New Futures': It's about keeping families together

'I had no idea where we were going to end up'

Posted: Oct 13, 2021 7:59 PM
Updated: Oct 14, 2021 12:19 PM

Huntsville-based New Futures has worked to fullfil its primary mission for 25 years now.

"Homelessness is traumatic enough, and there is no reason that a family should have to be separated during times of homelessness," said Tayna Rains, executive director of New Futures. 

When families face homelessness, New Futures keeps them together. 

"We're a small facility with only 13 rooms, but the privacy that families are offered during the time that they are working toward independent living allows them to continue to be very independent," said Rains. 

Originally from New Orleans, Melissa Autin said she appreciates that New Futures is centered around families, not just individuals. 

For Autin, life took an unexpected turn when her husband died in August. If that weight wasn’t heavy enough, another wave of distress hit soon after as Hurricane Ida arrived.

Autin’s apartment quickly filled with rain from the hurricane. What was once a home to her family became unlivable.

“When it rained again the next couple of days, there was still water and stuff coming into our apartment, so at that point, we decided to leave,” said Autin.

She and her five kids packed up their life and headed toward Mississippi.

“I had no idea where we were going to end up,” said Autin.

After countless calls, Autin learned New Futures would have a spot for her and her five kids.

“It's given a lot of peace of mind,” Autin said.

Huntsville mom Dotch Hollis said she’s relieved that she and her kids have New Futures to temporarily call home. Her landlord sold the property she was living in, and with an unpredictable market, finding a new affordable property was just half of the problem.

“My daughter being a special needs child, I really needed my own personal space,” said Hollis.

Homelessness is a grim reality for some families, but New Futures gives a glimmer of hope and security. The nonprofit helps with not just housing, but food, toiletries and lifelong resources.

“At least I can start the process of rebuilding our lives and trying to get back on your feet,” Autin said. 

There’s a table set up in front of New Futures in Huntsville for donations. Learn more about the nonprofit at their website here.

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