Housing. Childcare. Transportation. Education.
All of these issues—and many others—are part of the myriad causes of family homelessness. As volunteers engage in the Family Promise program, they realize if they can address these challenges, they can serve more people more effectively.
Community Initiatives include a wide array of programs. Some get to the heart of core needs, such as childcare and job training, families face in order to regain self-sufficiency. Other initiatives find ways to match the strengths of local volunteers and the interests of local corporations with the needs of our guests, like financial literacy. Similarly, many initiatives build off core tenets with the IHN program itself, leading to efforts like food assistance, furniture and clothing donation and health and wellness programs.
Probably no community initiative is more vital or more involved than the many housing programs Affiliates run: transitional, supportive and permanent housing programs. More than 40 Affiliates have some kind of housing program and cumulatively provide more than 500 units.
Key to these programs is the other most widespread initiative—post-shelter extended support. The underlying causes of homelessness are not alleviated simply by providing housing, as crucial as that is. The immense variety of services provided, from family mentoring to case management, ensures that families do not slip back into homelessness, so that the changes Family Promise has made are enduring.
The key is that the solutions exist right in the community. Congregations convert an old rectory to transitional housing. Affiliates partner with civic groups to create childcare. Volunteers supply families with good quality vehicles—often the one element they may need to stay out of homelessness.
Since 1988, more than 1,000 initiatives have been developed, matching local needs with local resources. Community initiatives are a testament to the compassion—and the innovation—of Family Promise volunteers.