Farmers & Merchants Bank Awarded $20,000 in Grants for Thomas House Family Shelter

Farmers & Merchants Bank (F&M Bank), one of the strongest commercial and retail banks in California, collaborated to obtain a total of $45,000 in grants from the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco’s 2018 AHEAD Program for funding for Thomas House Family Shelter and Second Chance Orange County.  The AHEAD Program supports targeted economic development projects and non-AHP-eligible housing initiatives that create or preserve jobs, deliver social services, training or educational programs, or other services and programs that benefit low- and moderate-income communities. AHEAD grants are awarded through members to community groups annually. 

Thomas House Family Shelter’s mission is to provide a safe, supportive environment and the resources necessary for homeless families with children in Orange County to remain together, while empowering them to become independent and self-sufficient. This project will help the sponsor increase their capacity to provide workforce development services to its families by bringing a dedicated Job Developer on staff. The new position will perform outreach to potential employers and work with families on education and work experience gaps, with the goal of helping 50 low-income homeless adults with children obtain employment or increase their earning capacity. The $20,000 grant will pay for the new staffer to expand the program. 

 “Thank you to our friends at the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco for making this wonderful program available via its member banks,” said Cheryl Ryman, Vice President, Community Reinvestment Act Officer.  “We congratulate Thomas House Family Shelter and Second Chance Orange County on these wonderful grant awards. These grants are going to help provide workforce development, empowering individuals and families to become independent and self-sufficient. Thomas House Family Shelter and Second Chance Orange County are wonderful assets to our community and we are grateful for the opportunity to assist in achieving their collective mission.” 

“We are pleased that Farmers and Merchants Bank is using our 2018 AHEAD Program to collaborate with two very accomplished nonprofits, each with unique approaches to specific workforce development challenges,” said Marietta Núñez, Vice President and Community Investment Officer at FHLBank San Francisco. “With this support, Thomas House Family Shelter will be able to offer more families who have experienced homelessness opportunity as well as shelter, and Second Chance will be able to turn more lives around for the better.” 

The Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco (FHLBank San Francisco) delivers low-cost funding and other services that help member financial institutions make home mortgages to people of all income levels and provide credit that supports neighborhoods and communities. The Bank also funds community programs that help members create affordable housing and promote community economic development.  


Thomas House Family Shelter Expands Homeless Services with Addition of New Shelter Property

GARDEN GROVE, Calif., (August 17, 2018) – Thomas House Family Shelter is pleased to announce the purchase of a new property that will allow them to expand their services to help more homeless families with children. The shelter closed escrow on an 8-unit apartment complex, which sits adjacent to the shelter’s current site in Garden Grove, CA, at the end of July. 

“We’re so excited about the opportunity to help more homeless families with children get back on track and build a bright future,” says Natalie Julien, Executive Director, Thomas House Family Shelter. “This wouldn’t have been possible without the generous support of our donors, who continuously show their commitment to Thomas House and its mission.” 

Founded in 1986, Thomas House is focused on providing a safe, supportive environment and the resources necessary for homeless families with children to remain together while empowering them to become independent and self-sufficient. In a given year, the shelter supports nearly 40 families, or 150 adults and children, from Orange County and across Southern California. 

“I am so grateful that Thomas House has continued to grow over the years and respond to the needs of families as they arise,” adds Sister Kathy Stein, former Executive Director at Thomas House for 20-years. “The purchase of an additional building has been a dream for many years. Now thanks to many generous donors, it has become a reality. This building will allow Thomas House to serve more families in need and support them as they prepare for the future.” 

Currently, Thomas House owns and operates an apartment complex which shelters homeless families in 16 units. Residents who come to Thomas House are given a variety of resources, including case management to help identify and resolve issues that led to homelessness; counseling sessions; career development assistance; weekly life skills and parenting classes; a comprehensive youth development program that provides mentoring, tutoring, a computer lab, school supplies, educational trips and activities; and a graduate extension program that helps former residents remain self-sufficient by granting them continued access to the aforementioned resources. 

The shelter has an average success rate of 80 – 90 percent. Adult residents who come to Thomas House obtain full-time employment, increase their savings and obtain permanent housing when they complete the program. With the addition of the new property, Thomas House will have the ability to expand its reach and help even more homeless families with children, a dream which has been more than 30 years in the making. 

“Thomas House can now shelter 24 families due to its recent purchase of an 8-unit apartment complex. Expansion has been a long-time dream of the shelter and I am overjoyed in this exciting moment, and can speak the same for my late husband, Bernie,” says Mary Selz, who founded Thomas House along with her husband. “My heartfelt thanks to all who have been part of the progress of Thomas House, and to the capable and caring staff who shepherd each family on a daily basis.” 

Thomas House Family Shelter is proud to continue fulfilling its mission and making a difference in our community, where they have helped roughly 1,500 homeless families become independent and self-sufficient. As the shelter works to prepare its newest addition, it asks for community and business members alike to keep Thomas House in mind for any furniture or household donations, as well as volunteer support and financial contributions to ready the building for new families.

To donate items or volunteer, call (714) 554-0357.
To donate financially, click here.