What We Do
The Restoration House has become a recognized leader in serving single mothers and their children in Knoxville. This recognition is due in part to a commitment to remain a student of best practices for helping single-mother families. TRH was founded on the belief that through partnership and collaboration, everyone wins; as such, TRH desires not to reproduce services but to work with other organizations to fill in the system gaps for single-mother families and their children. TRH currently partners with a variety of organizations and churches while also counseling local, regional, and national organizations around best practices for supporting single-mother families.
Who We Serve
The Restoration House serves low-income single mothers and their children in Knoxville, TN and surrounding counties. All families served by TRH come by referral through a variety of local agencies and organizations including crisis pregnancy shelters, adoption agencies, emergency and transitional shelters, churches, etc.
TRH currently walks alongside six single-mother families for an average of two years each. Because the need is so great, TRH is currently in the process of quadrupling its capacity through the building of The Village, a 24-home community for single-mother families. Learn more about The Village and how you can support the project.
The Restoration House Model
The Restoration House invested two years in significant research understanding local gaps and national best practices before welcoming its first family into the program. Since then, the organization has remained committed to learning from and assisting successful organizations at a national level that serve single-mother families. TRH utilizes a 3-pronged model that aims to help single-mother families become self-reliant and transition into the successful lives that God intended for them. The model includes:
1. Supportive Transitional Housing
TRH provides a transitional housing unit to each of its single-mother families for an average of two years. Each mother focuses on career development as she works toward self-reliance. As such, mothers are strongly encouraged to be in school and/or working full-time within six months of entering the program. Mothers pay 30% of their income toward rent and utilities to help them begin the transition into market-rate housing. All mothers are continually engaged in financial literacy training through classroom instruction and one-on-one financial coaching. Through a partnership with SunTrust Bank, single-mother families in The Restoration House are able to participate in a 3:1 matched savings program with an Individual Development Account. This special account encourages a pattern of savings for the family and can be used for the purchase of an asset such as a home or post-secondary education. If the family does not purchase an approved asset within the allotted four-year time frame, they lose the match but retain their own savings.
2. Team Mentoring
A team of 6 to 12 mentors from local churches, walks alongside each participating family. The mentor team provides emotional and spiritual support along with practical guidance. The mentors range in age and life experience, allowing for a broad spectrum of support and enhancing the effectiveness and benefits of the team. The team approach decreases the demands on any one person (which can lead to burnout) while also decreasing the likelihood of an unhealthy dependence within a mentoring relationship. The team concept also allows for individual mentors to focus their energy on specific members of the family.
3. Family Advocacy
TRH’s Family Advocate assists with coordination and planning related to a family’s vision for their future. A contract outlining the basic limitations and expectations of the TRH program is signed by each participating single-mother family. The Family Advocate develops an individualized service agreement with the participating family which identifies goals and action steps for areas including education, employment, financial literacy, life skills, personal growth, parenting, child health, etc. Additionally, on an as-needed basis, TRH partners with community resources for job training, counseling, life skills, physical fitness, child enrichment activities and other services.
What Makes The Restoration House Program Distinct?
- TRH’s program is holistic, addressing the physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual needs of the whole family.
- The availability of IDAs (matched savings accounts) applied toward the down payment on a home or post-secondary education jump starts graduates’ success when they leave the program.
- A mentoring team composed of 6 to 12 mentors – representing diversity in gender, marital status, family size, age and ethnicity – is assigned to each single-mother family to create a comprehensive support network for each of the single-mother families in the program.
- TRH has the ability to specialize program components, including life skills education, around the specific needs of each single mother and her children.
- TRH requires a high degree of participation from their single-mother families in the development of their service planning covenant.
- TRH has a strong network of community partners who provide key program elements to participating single-mother families, enabling TRH to focus on its strengths without duplicating the good work of others.
The mission of The Restoration House is accomplished in the context of the five-way partnership model in which each partner contributes to the overall restoration of a family. TRH is blessed to have an extensive network of dedicated partners in the Knoxville community that contribute generously through financial support, spiritual support and guidance, technical assistance, in-kind donations and volunteering. Learn more about our partners.