Laurel locals Mike and Lisa Cochran have always had a heart for helping others in the community. They had a particular vision for how they could help women and their families who were going through troubled times. When they began unfolding this idea in 2004, the puzzle pieces didn't seem to fit perfectly, and the right opportune moment hadn't presented itself yet. It didn't deter them from dreaming, and the Cochrans began taking steps to make their dreams a reality.
In 2018, Lisa and Mike founded Dwell, a non-profit that provides transitional housing for women going through recovery, domestic abuse, divorce, or those who are free from incarceration. Dwell partners with each woman to develop independent life skills and sustainable recovery tactics and provides safe, secure housing to ensure success in their future.
The Cochrans began with a single unit, housing one family in a local apartment complex. As a neighboring unit would become available, they would furnish it and rent it. While progress seemed slow at first, the Cochrans would go on to rent all eight apartment units in the same complex. Thanks to the support of the community and donors, they were able to furnish each apartment and provide supportive community around them.
In 2018, Mike and Lisa Cochran were featured on Home Town when Erin and Ben renovated the Helen House for a future family that needed assistance.The Cochrans were excited to see women and families healing and progressing, and others in the community and viewers nationwide took notice. The Cochrans hoped to inspire others to be involved in their efforts and create sustainable funding for the essential needs. That's why Lisa created The Remnant, a donation-based thrift store that would fund their mission and profoundly share their story.
Erin praises the Cochrans for their creativity and heart for helping others. She says, "It's so resourceful of the Cochrans to take the concept of second-hand goods, style it and market it as a premier shopping experience, and use the funds to create something beautiful that gives women in need a hand up. It's such a unique model that I think speaks to how creative our community is."
Sydney Baker, the Operations Manager of the Remnant, explains how the Remnant mirrors the concept of transitional housing and shares how their store represents far more than a thrifty deal or a good find.
She says, "The store's name represents how the remnants of people's lives— their clothes, furniture, things that they've passed down— can be like new to another person and can bring new life in other places. Much like the women we house, they were once in a dark place, perhaps feeling unwanted, trapped, or broken to pieces after a troubling season of life."
"But we look at brokenness differently. We believe they can still build something beautiful from those broken pieces and remnants of their past life. They can create a new future for themselves and their family with a little assistance and support."
There isn't an exemption for race, class, age, or family history regarding addiction and homelessness. Anyone in any walk of life can lose their job suddenly, be burdened by financial or familial loss, and send someone spiraling.
Sydney notes, "I think it's important for people to understand that this can happen to anyone. Many think that young, impressionable people fall into trouble more often, but a person can be in their 40s before they ever try a substance and lose control. Addiction takes over anyone it can devour."
It's essential for the community to come alongside their efforts and provide a safe, judgmental-free space for individuals and families to recover.
Today, the Remnant takes in all used and new furniture and clothing donations and uses them to furnish Dwell apartment units or resells the items in their storefront. They hope to provide accessible goods for everybody in the community and walk alongside those in recovery.