It all started when Margaret Queen-Flowers—Executive Director and Founder of the Genesis Joy House Homeless Shelter—was just 12 years old. Her grandmother took her along as she set up a stand at a Farmer’s Market in Washington, D.C.
``I saw people sitting on the curb, and I asked my grandmother who they were. She told me they were homeless, and we made cheese sandwiches for them. They were hungry, my grandmother said, and we had enough to share.``
``That experience instilled in me a purpose for life.``
Many years later, Margaret still cares for the homeless in Warner Robins. She is driven by a never-ending faith in God and an enduring concern for homeless female veterans.
“A woman who has served her country shouldn’t have to be homeless or lose her children when she returns,” says Margaret, whose son, husband, and late father-in-law were all veterans.
“There are facilities for homeless male veterans, but not for female veterans in our area. It feels like they’ve been forgotten.”
Margaret and her husband, Edward Flowers, III, formed a nonprofit to advocate on behalf of homeless female veterans. In search of a property to use to provide temporary housing, they found just what they prayed for: A site with three buildings on one parcel—a duplex home, a fellowship hall building, and a five-unit studio apartment building. The property was donated to them by a businessman, and is able to house up to 14 homeless female veterans at a time.
The work of Genesis Joy House is supported by the military members stationed at the Robins Airforce Base, the city’s mayor, and many local church groups.
When talking about their search for the homeless female veterans, Margaret says it’s an unforseen challenge. “I have to go into the woods and seek them out,” she says. When weather allows, homeless women are seen living on ragged couches, and dispersed throughout the community when it doesn’t.
“We keep track of those we help. We’ve helped hundreds of women find jobs and their own homes. And soon we’ll be able to do even more.”