In its first two decades the Houston Furniture Bank has received donations of almost a quarter million pieces of furniture which has made it possible to serve over 21,000 families in need. Over 50,000 children have slept in beds rather than on a cold, hard floor, and have been able to be seated at a table to share their meals instead of using discarded cardboard boxes. In total, Houston Furniture Bank has served more than 80,000 individuals since 1992.
Oli Mohammed, founder of the Furniture Bank for MHMRA and now the Executive Director of this independent 501©3 non-profit organization, explains the mission this way: “Furniture is a critical stepping stone to improve living conditions and elevate an individual’s personal pride and dignity.” Recipients are referred to the Houston Furniture Bank by more than 75 Social Service Agencies in the Greater Houston area. These families are transitioning to independent living while struggling with extreme poverty. Some have become impoverished due to natural disasters, such as floods or fires; for others, their access to independence has been affected by mental challenges, physical disabilities, chemical dependencies, or catastrophic health issues such as AIDS. While some are victims of domestic violence or refugees of political persecution, still others such as Veterans, Senior Citizens, or single parents, have become unable to gain employment or earn adequate wages to support themselves.