BIG IDEA: Lisa Banks

Executive Director, Leading Families Home
Why You Should Know Her: She is a guiding force behind one of the area’s longest tenured emergency family shelters,  working to grow and expand in 2022.

Having celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2021, Leading Families Home, Beach House Inc. continues to serve residents of the Greater Toledo Area. Originally named the“Women’s Protective Association,” the structure was a home for wayward girls and ladies of the night. The 501(c)(3) nonprofit has come a long way, changing its mission statement over the years and now being inclusive to any and all family situations, with a purpose of keeping families intact and providing economic stability. 

“We’re not just a homeless shelter, we are an emergency family shelter. That’s one thing we really want people to realize, whether (the referral to our home is) through the [Veteran’s Association], or due to domestic violence, we provide a place for people no matter the reason they are  homeless. We had a family come after a fire… everybody that comes to us, it’s not necessarily their fault that they are there,” explains Executive Director, Lisa Banks.

The emergency family shelter has been busy these past few years. In 2016 Beach Home Family Shelter merged with FOCUS (Family Outreach Community United Services), to rebrand as Leading Families Home, Beach House Inc. In 2021, that entity merged with another local 501(c)(3), Providence House, expanding roles and focus to offer classes on anger management, behavioral therapy, domestic violence, and much more. 

In 2021, as of early December, the organization has served 137 families, or 404 individuals, both adults and children. Their location, on North Erie Street, houses up to 23 individuals in the seven rooms available, and is almost always full. They plan to open a second location, Beach House II, in early 2022, which will serve as an overflow space for 75 more individuals, featuring a cafeteria, computer room, laundry facilities and more space. They encourage those interested in volunteering for or looking for employment with the organization to reach out via Facebook or phone as the new location opens up more opportunities.

Leading Families Home is extremely grateful to the community who have kept them going for over a century. Though they have access to local, state, and government grants, the nonprofit thrives due to the work and donations their community provides. Every year they hold a handful of donation events, garnering thousands of dollars that go directly towards uplifting members of our community that need it most.