Family Promise Helping Families at Risk of Becoming Homeless
Family Promise is a non-profit organization committed to keeping families together that are at risk of becoming homeless. In 2012, 633,782 homeless people in the United States could be found in a single night according to the 2012 Annual Homeless Assessment report published by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Office of Community Planning and Development (2012). Among those who were homeless on a single night in the U.S., 62 percent were homeless as individuals and 38 percent were homeless as persons in families.
When families are faced with circumstances that put them at risk for becoming homeless, they sometimes have to separate or break apart. Family Promise provides emergency housing for families in crisis and also provides food and support services to help them get back on track.
Kaplan University’s Human Services Department Chair Julie Riley helps with the strategic side of the agency, the administration, the curriculum, and the grant writing, but also does a lot of hands-on work. According to Riley, “When families lose their housing, they have to split up to enter all male or all female shelters. Family Promise helps keep families together by temporarily housing families in churches and varied community housing so they can stay in one location.”
Family Promise was founded more than 20 years ago and according to their website, www.familypromise.org, more than 500,000 people have been helped. Through a network of independent affiliates located in 41 states, the organization is able to help provide for homeless families as they try to get back on track.
More than 160,000 volunteers and several corporate and community partners come together to help the homeless or those at risk of becoming homeless. In addition to finding a shelter for families, the organization provides family mentoring, child tutoring, advocates for those living in poverty, and services to help families improve their housing and employment situation. Additionally, Family Promise has partnered with PetSmart to create PetSmart Promise which expands some Family Promise emergency shelters into letting families staying with them stay with their pets or provide them with complimentary boarding space in some PetSmart stores located near a Family Promise center.
If you are human services or public service student interested in learning more about Family Promise, you can visit www.familypromise.org to learn more or see how you can take action in helping reduce homelessness.