Our volunteers see beyond the abstractions and statistics of poverty. They come to know real people with real needs. They begin with the basics, providing shelter, meals, and support services to homeless families. But many of them go on to do much more, creating new programs and partnerships to solve local problems and meet local needs.
Some have developed transitional housing. Others have established parenting classes and tutoring programs for children. Still others have set up health clinics, renovated housing, and created job-training programs.
Volunteers at our Affiliate in Augusta, Georgia found that they were able to help homeless families by putting a roof over their heads, but they were frustrated by the lack of affordable childcare that kept parents from finding and keeping jobs. So they responded to that need by starting the Augusta Children's Day Care Center.
In Spokane, Washington, our Family Promise volunteers found that even though they successfully placed guests in housing, some families faced ongoing struggles. To help guest families navigate the many obstacles that low-income people face, they created a formal program of life skills classes that provides aftercare support, information, advice, and real-life solutions.
Our Denver, Colorado Affiliate partners with Wells Fargo Bank to offer a Family Savings Program, through which guests receive guidance and information on budgeting and saving. Families can open a Wells Fargo savings account with no fees or minimum balance and receive assistance from a Personal Banker. Upon leaving the IHN, guests can qualify for a small savings matching grant to help pay rent or utilities.
How Family Promise Supports Community Initiatives
To support and encourage the development of these community initiatives, Family Promise offers Affiliates information on how existing programs have been developed, funded and maintained. In addition, Family Promise connects Affiliates planning a specific program with other directors and volunteers who were involved in developing similar initiatives in other communities to share tips and advice on staffing, securing funds, and promoting the programs.