EXCLUSIVE: Nonprofit grants Christmas wish, furnishes home for previously homeless East Bay family

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Thursday, December 22, 2022
EXCLUSIVE: Nonprofit furnishes home for previously homeless EB family
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A previously homeless Richmond mother now has a furnished apartment she received rent-free for the next year thanks to a nonprofit.

RICHMOND, Calif. (KGO) -- Nearly a week ago ABC7 News followed up with Brianni Peters the single mom who was homeless for almost a year. Peters got a year of free rent from the mayor of Richmond. She gave us a tour of her new home and on Wednesday she got another surprise.

The nonprofit "Make it home Bay Area" furnished Peters' entire place for free.

But how did we get here? After our story, Peters began fundraising to buy furniture for her new place.

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ABC7 viewers donated over $2,000 and then one of you contacted ABC7 News reporter Luz Pena to tell her about "Make it home Bay Area," a furniture bank that donates furniture to formerly homeless families and foster children. ABC7 told them about Peters and they wanted to help.

"We wanted to give her some warmth and some little bit of color. Some personality. So we put together a really cute dining set that we are going to give her with a couple dressers. This is the lounge chair that it's a beautiful, beautiful piece. We hope she likes it with a little side table," said Carolyn Rebuffel Flannery, owner of Make it Home Bay Area.

In October 2020, Flannery left her interior design job to open the nonprofit. Since then they've helped furnish over 1,000 homes and diverted over 1,000 tons from landfills. Flannery often gets letters from clients. She read one of them: "This is one of the thank you notes that I got recently. Thank you. We are tickled pink. 'Carolyn, I wanted to say thank you for helping my patient furnish her home. She feels empowered to begin her new life on her own with her son. I truly believe that this is the runway she needed to truly soar.'"

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This is their last push before Christmas. Peters is one of at least six families getting furniture for their homes this holiday.

After waiting anxiously for their new furniture the movers arrived and Brianni and her daughter, Abria got a sneak peek.

"Oh my God, look!," said Abria Rose.

We FaceTimed Flannery to introduce her to Peters.

Luz Pena: "Carolyn, meet Brianni and her daughter."

Peters: "I love the chair. I love the chair."

Flannery: "So glad you liked it because I think it's fantastic."

Peters: "I think it's fantastic too. I said this person really knows me without knowing me. Thank you so much."

After all, Peters' Christmas miracle did come true. She moved out of the RV, got a home rent-free for a year, and has two jobs. However, her daughter's smile and peace of mind are her biggest blessing.

Luz Pena: "Abria what do you think?

Abria: "I like it a lot. It's like a dream come true and I have my own room now so I really like it. Mom, thank you! Thank you guys for helping out. They are still coming in. We've come a long way."

Peters: "I just can't say nothing more but thank you. Thank you that someone saw that we could be better than what we were. Now it's nowhere but up from here."

If you're on the ABC7 News app, click here to watch live