Family Promise of the Palouse is a non-profit organization that will help homeless families with children gain independence in both housing and other life activities. Family Promise will join Sojourners Alliance, the Hope Center, Alternatives to Violence on the Palouse, Habitat for Humanity and other agencies to address many complex and underlying causes of poverty. Family Promise of the Palouse will serve Moscow, Pullman, and nearby locations.
This service will support homeless families with children who are facing short-term problems that would probably lead to longer-term poverty and more family dysfunction. Homeless children are the fastest growing segment of the homeless population in the United States. Family Promise’s aim is to help families be strong and resilient so that children will thrive in a healthy setting. Many local agencies are on the front lines of poverty issues; no other area program assists families with children who have emergency housing needs… and keeps the family together during the time of distress.
Family Promise brings faith communities together to help families who are temporarily distressed due to job loss, unexpected health costs, domestic violence, or a car accident that eliminates transportation or access to a job. “Host congregations” and “partner congregations” will provide shelter, food, and fellowship while a small professional staff will coordinate services and volunteers. Congregations will provide service approximately four times a year.Homeless families with children who qualify for Family Promise must submit to an extensive application and screening process. Participating families must agree to a set of expectations that will lead to an independent and sustainable life. Typical Family Promise programs serve 25-30 families and 100-120 people a year. Approximately 77% of families who commit to Family Promise move into their own housing within 9 weeks. Sojourners Alliance staff report that 10-12 families a week seek shelter assistance.
More than 20 congregations in Moscow/Pullman have committed to Family Promise and our congregational recruitment process continues.
Our grant was for capacity with an emphasis on developing our donor base. We wanted to talk about some of the results we’ve seen with our increased efforts in donor stewardship this year, but also what we’ve been able to accomplish in terms of our mission.
In terms of donor base development:
Of the 40 key donors we were looking to reactivate this year, we’ve renewed over half of them, with a number of them promising to give a year-end gift.
This grant made a big difference to our organization in our first year with a paid staff person, and I wanted to share a little about what we’ve been able to accomplish this year:
We wanted to thank you all so much for this grant and your support this year – it’s made a HUGE difference. THANK YOU!
MY OWN HOME
My Own Home received a $5,000 grant from the Giving Circle to assist in our first year of operation as we build our capacity to grow and provide services to members.
At the time of our application we had 16 members, 5 family and 6 single, and had not yet started providing services. With the Circle’s support, we were able to begin offering services this past July and currently have 23 members, 6 family 11 single.
We were also able to develop our list of volunteers, which now includes 30 community members willing to perform a wide variety of services for our members. All of the volunteers have now undergone background checks and an initial group has gone through our training program.
As a result of being operational, we have been able to participate in three student service events sponsored by the University, where members had yard clean up work performed and windows washed. An added bonus was how pleased the members were to have this kind of contact with university students.
Most recently we were invited by Moscow High School to give a presentation about My Own Home. Approximately 120 students attended the presentation and 80 of them completed volunteer forms. Not that we, or at least some of us, want it to snow a whole lot this winter, but if it does having so many student volunteers should be a real asset in being able to provide snow removal services for our members who need it.
Some of the other services we have performed for our current members include: moving furniture so that carpets could be cleaned, transportation and minor house repairs. We have also held two get togethers for members to have an opportunity to meet one another and tell us what services they are most interested in receiving. We’ve also sponsored trips to a movie showing at the Kenworthy and a performance of the IRT’s summer play.
Organizationally we have recently strengthened our board with the addition of three new members: Andrea Beckett, a well known and highly regarded CPA; Jim Prall, who has extensive experience providing services to seniors on a volunteer basis; and Susan Ripley, who has worked for Latah County’s Assessor’s Office for more than 27 years, most recently as Technical Systems Manager, and who has performed countless hours as a volunteer and board member for a number of local organizations.
Our major goals for the coming year are increasing our number of members and becoming financial sustainable through securing funding from grants and private donors. To that end, we have scheduled a facilitated board retreat in early January to develop a concrete action plan for accomplishing them.