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The Center for Transforming Lives' Homes for the Holidays donation drive helps us provide a better start for families recovering from homelessness. We help over 100 families move to empty apartments each year; we rely on caring people like you to fill these apartments with basic necessities such as towels, a skillet, twin beds and cleaning supplies. These essentials and a few weeks of bath, kitchen and cleaning supplies will ensure these families have real Homes for the Holidays.


Amber grew up in poverty and violence. This trauma at an early age numbed her to the chaos, instability and abuse. Amber’s mother, when she was around, did not prioritize education. So neither did Amber. Her mother job-hopped, boyfriend-hopped and couch-hopped when she couldn’t pay rent. It was turmoil for a young child who could not escape. Amber grew into an impoverished and homeless young adult. Alone on the streets, she was desperate for a new life, hoping for an escape from the cycle of poverty. Fortunately, Amber finally found the Center for Transforming Lives (CTL). Case managers saw her spark of determination and enrolled her in counseling to address her history of abuse. Amber started studying for her GED and participated in job-readiness training and counseling to learn what a stable life means. And, CTL found Amber a small apartment – just in time. She delivered twin girls! Amber could take her babies to a safe home instead of a homeless shelter. When CTL helped move her and the twins into the new apartment, it didn’t take long. All she owned was two car seats, some clothes and enough blankets to make a pallet on the floor. No towels, no cookware. No furniture. No cribs. In their new home, Amber and her babies were safe and warm, but an empty apartment is a tough way to start over. Can you imagine caring for twin infants without a crib or changing table? Or hoping the diapers last a few more days?

This was Amber’s reality.


You can change this reality. You can provide a better start for families recovering from homelessness. A few weeks of basic necessities for families like Amber’s will ensure these families have a real home for the holidays. CTL helped move 85 families from homelessness to empty apartments this year. Will you join us? You can help us fill these apartments with basic necessities such as towels, a skillet, twin beds, cleaning supplies.

 Join us to lift more mothers and children by giving a real home for the holidays this year.

Lift a family. Gift a home.

 Go to to donate today.


What makes the Center for Transforming Lives different?

Well, for starters we take a two-generational approach to ending poverty. 

Parents living in poverty experience high levels of chronic stress and hardship, including isolation and exclusion, frequent moves and transitions, and constant juggling of limited financial resources to try to make ends meet. The stress and chaos of these conditions roll onto the shoulders of their children and can cause long-term negative impacts, including actual damage to a child’s developing brains. The constant worry and sense of crisis frequently prevents these parents from providing the type of healthy, cognitively stimulating, emotionally supportive interactions their children need to thrive in early childhood, succeed in school, and break out of the cycle of poverty as adults.

Providing early childhood education for homeless and low-income children is a crucial component of ending poverty’s viscous cycle. Unfortunately, education alone is not always sufficient. The answer: a two-generation approach – work with both the child (through early childhood development) and the parent (through family advocacy).

 Two-Generation Family Services

Two-generation family services break the poverty cycle by helping the whole family achieve immediate stability, which leads to long-term independence. Critical to this strategy are social workers and Early Head Start family advocates who address each family’s most immediate needs, such as safety, housing and medical care, to move them out of crisis and into stability. Ongoing check points ensure that each family receives the support they need to reach long-term goals that improve the family’s economic well-being and self-sufficiency through increased education, employment and income in addition to financial coaching with a focus on building emergency savings and reducing debt.

The Center for Transforming Lives' two-generation approach to ending poverty focuses on addressing the needs of and creating opportunities for children and parents together. 

Through the launch of monthly Parent Cafés, these at-risk families can access proven, research-based parenting curriculum that strengthens positive relationships with their children, while providing an opportunity to connect with peers and build natural supports. Parent Cafés engage parents in meaningful conversations about what matters most – their families and how to strengthen their families by building protective factors that can mitigate the negative impacts of trauma.

Working with parents and their children together puts the whole family on a path to long-term economic security. The Center’s two-generation approach builds education, economic assets, social capital, health and well-being to create a legacy of economic security that passes from one generation to the next.

If you'd love to learn more about us, please visit us at


We all deserve a safe place to The Center For Transforming Lives on North Texas Giving Day 9.19!

Rapid Rehousing for Families

Homelessness has a devastating impact on children. Homeless children move a lot; some will change schools two, three, even four times in a year. Any teacher will tell you it’s impossible for kids to learn with this kind of disruption. Yet quality education is key to getting out of poverty.

?We can change the odds for these kids 

Through Rapid Rehousing, we help families quickly exit homelessness and return to permanent housing, increase their income and stay housed for good. We combine stable housing with job training and placement, individualized financial coaching, childcare, health and mental health care referrals, and the support of trauma-informed trained social workers to support these families as they become emotionally and financially self-sufficient.

Keeping little feet off the streets

  • Safely sheltered 117 families last year

  • 92% remain housed, paying rent without assistance, after graduating the program

For every family we move out of homelessness, our community saves more than $20,000 per familyper year in reduced costs for health care, child protection intervention, special education, crime remediation and more.

Please help us with your donation today or on North Texas Giving Day!

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Strong community partnerships are key to moving women and children out of poverty. This month we celebrate the partnership between the Center for Transforming Lives and our partner in poverty reduction, The Salvation Army Mabee Center.

The Salvation Army has worked on a global scale to alleviate poverty for more than 150 years. Here in Tarrant County, The Salvation Army operates facilities in Arlington and Fort Worth that offer a wide variety of services, including homeless shelter, disaster recovery, counseling, after-school programming and addiction services.

Along with us, The Salvation Army staff and leadership recently recognized a growing need for emergency shelter for children and families in Tarrant County. About the same time, the agency realized that the homeless shelters they operate for single men were not at capacity most nights. Families were being turned away, but empty beds were available in the shelter for single individuals. Working with the other homeless service providers in the community, The Salvation Army staff determined that the single men staying at The Salvation Army could easily be accommodated at other local shelters.

In September 2017, The Salvation Army converted all of their single emergency shelter space to family shelter. The Salvation Army quickly became the primary point-of-entry for women and families with minor children seeking homeless services in Tarrant County, filling a vital role for families in crisis and operating at full capacity almost every night.

We value our partnership with The Salvation Army and appreciate their leadership in serving families with children experiencing homelessness.


Disclaimer: This post is brought to you by the Center for Transforming Lives as part of the Hidden Homeless initiative to raise awareness of local issues surrounding our community and its members. For more information please visit


Carol Klocek, CEO of the Center for Transforming Lives, recently had an opportunity to help plan the Region 6 Forum on Family Homelessness in Dallas and speak on a panel about family homelessness. Hosted by the Administration for Children and Families of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the forum was designed to address the growing reality in our community and in our country.

On the panel with Carol was Annie, a courageous young mother who told her story of waiting to get into a homeless shelter more than two years ago after her infant son was discharged from a neonatal intensive care unit. They were first told that they did not “look homeless” and were turned away. After living in a tent behind a hotel for a time, Annie returned and was put on a waiting list. Every Friday she called to see if a spot had opened for her and her newborn. After three long, frightening months of living in a tent, being helped by other homeless strangers, they were admitted to a shelter. And their lives began to change.

With braces, nervous giggles and tears, this young woman told her story. She is proud of how far she has come and knows their future holds more struggle and difficulty, but she describes herself as determined. She told the guests at the forum, “Don’t give up on us…don’t give up on me.” And we have not. Her infant is currently enrolled in Early Head Start through the Center for Transforming Lives, which has allowed her the flexibility to get a job. Through the shelter services she received with a partner agency, she was able to gain entry to their Rapid Rehousing program, which will provide rental assistance for up to one year while works to get on her feet. 

While Annie’s story has a good ending, we must continue to work to advocate for children and families like hers. Life as a single mother with a newborn is tough enough; living in a tent for three months to survive should not be part of the equation.

*Please note that the names in this story have been changed 



Disclaimer: This post is brought to you by the Center for Transforming Lives as part of the Hidden Homeless initiative to raise awareness of local issues surrounding our community and its members. For more information please visit

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Part 3 – Christy

Christy was raised in an abusive home and cycled in and out of the foster care system. For most of her childhood, she was never shown love by her family. As an adult, she entered into an abusive relationship that left her homeless and living in her car with nowhere to turn. Her housing instability resulted in her children being removed by Child Protective Services.

Undeterred, Christy wanted a better life for her children. She was referred to the Center for Transforming Lives Rapid Rehousing Program. Christy overcame the obstacles of poverty by utilizing resources offered by the Center such as Financial Empowerment and Child Violence and Trauma Intervention Therapy. She worked hard to make sure she had a safe home for her children, and developed better parenting skills to become more loving and caring.

Since then, Christy and her family moved into their own home, and is working, and becoming more independent each day. The Center for Transforming Lives has been instrumental in making it possible for Christy and her family to experience safety, security, and belonging – in their own home.


If you are not ready to donate but would like to learn more about the Center for Transforming Lives, please visit

Disclaimer: This post and series is brought to you by the Center for Transforming Lives as part of the Hidden Homeless initiative to raise awareness of local issues surrounding our community and its members. 

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Part 2 - Shafeeqa

Shafeeqa had a six-?gure income and was thriving. 

Then she got sick. Very, very sick. In and out of health-cares, she lost her job, savings, and ?nancial security. With a young child, she had no other option than to keep going. Following her passion for food and desire for healing, she began cooking, resulting in the creation of PlantChicks.

?Lingering medical debt on her credit prevented her from receiving traditional lending, so Shafeeqa applied for the Individual Development Account (IDA) program offered by the Center for Transforming Lives. She joined a local co-op with other several small businesses to share a kitchen and used the IDA program funding to continue pursuing her dream.

CTL has helped Shafeeqa learn to balance the needs of her business with her commitment to health and family. Her ?nancial coaches hold her accountable and offer tools that have set her up for success. You can taste the success for yourself - PlantChicks has provided your plant-based dessert today!


If you are not ready to donate but would like to learn more about the Center for Transforming Lives, please visit


Disclaimer: This post and series is brought to you by the Center for Transforming Lives as part of the Hidden Homeless initiative to raise awareness of local issues surrounding our community and its members. 



Part 1: Veronica

This series, brought to you by the Center for Transforming Lives, will share highly profound transformative stories of local women and children who have truly embodied the transition from poverty to possibility.


Part 1- Veronica

Alone with a baby, Veronica wasn’t sure where to turn. She desperately needed a job to provide for her daughter, but didn’t have anyone to watch sweet Vivian while she worked.

Then she learned about the Center for Transforming Lives and scheduled a tour of the Arlington Child Development Center. She immediately felt comfortable with the warm and welcoming staff, and she noticed the rooms were filled with natural light, learning centers, art projects, and books. The curriculum was award-winning and the teachers were all highly trained. 

Best of all, a sliding payment scale was available for those who need it. Veronica wouldn’t have to spend nearly her entire paycheck on child care – she would have money left over for groceries and rent. Once Vivian was enrolled, it wasn’t long until Veronica knew she had made the right decision. Vivian quickly became attached to her teachers. So did Veronica! The teachers not only took wonderful care of her daughter, but also provided support to Veronica as a first-time mom. They taught Veronica how to help wean Vivian off her pacifier and they helped with potty-training. The teachers scheduled regular meetings with Veronica to discuss Vivian’s development, keep her informed of her progress, and talk about techniques to use at home to enhance her learning.  Veronica was impressed with Vivian’s development and couldn’t believe how fast her child’s vocabulary was growing.

In a recent visit, Vivian – now 5 years old – commented that markers are her favorite art tool and she loves to draw. “I’m an artist,” she said proudly.  She also shared, “I have lots of favorite friends here” and in Miss Sasha’s classroom “I felt like I was home.” 

Stories like Vivian’s play out at the Center for Transforming Lives child development centers every day.Some of the children face tougher issues than being in a low-income family.

Some of the children are homeless. 

A small bus or van picks them up at a local homeless shelter each morning and takes them back at the end of the school day.Many struggle with physical and emotional developmental delays due to trauma they have experienced. All receive the love, care, and individualized support they need to learn and grow, enabling them to be ready for kindergarten when the time comes. 

This kind of transformative care is only possible with the help of generous supporters like you. Will you give today to help a young child learn tomorrow and be successful in the future?  Your generosity can change a child’s life and transform their future.Thank you for joining us in transforming lives! 


If you are not ready to donate but would like to learn more about the Center for Transforming Lives, please visit


Disclaimer: This post and series is brought to you by the Center for Transforming Lives as part of the Hidden Homeless initiative to raise awareness of local issues surrounding our community and its members. 


We do not see them camping under bridges, so we assume they do not exist. Children, the hidden homeless, live in a shadow world of insecurity and stress - sleeping in the back seat of cars, piled four or five to a bed in a run-down motel, or even on the floor of a relative’s home.

Desperate to keep them safe and united as a family, mothers call on every friend and family member they know for help. Due to the fear that shelters are unsafe for their kids, many mothers report they would rather sleep in their cars.

In addition to this report, CTL is leading transformative change in Tarrant County a number of ways. CTL spearheads improvements to the homeless service system by working alongside agencies such as Tarrant County Homeless Coalition and area shelters. In addition, we are planning a project that will integrate safe housing as well as affordable childcare, employment and transportation.CTL is also working with policy partners such as the Administration for Children and Families to engage education systems to better meet the needs of children and families.

We are proud to help transform lives. This effort has taken us out of our comfort zone and pushed the boundaries of our transformation work. But we realized – sometimes you have to go big so kids can go home. 


Some of the key points include:


  • An estimated 14,981 children experience homelessness each year in Tarrant County

  • All forms of homelessness for children cause trauma, impacting their developing brains as well as physical and emotional health.

  • The lack of affordable housing and childcare, along with limited education and employment opportunities only serve to grow this problem.

  • The current homeless service system is not equipped to handle the realities of homeless children.