By: Staff Reports | Gwinnett Citizen

Family Promise helps families

Lawrenceville, Ga. - Family Promise of Gwinnett County, an Affiliate of Family Promise, an Interfaith Hospitality Network, is proud to be part of a nationwide effort to help children and families who are homeless regain their sustainable independence.

The week of Sunday, October 12 through Sunday, October 19, has been designated Family Promise Week. Family Promise Week will be celebrated nationwide and in the 185 communities where there is a Family Promise Affiliate. Since 1988, Family Promise, nationally, has helped more than 600,000 people—men, women and children—with housing, case management and other services. Started as a local effort to address the crisis of family homelessness, Family Promise works on the principle that the elements to help children and their families—who make up 40% of all people who are homeless—are already in the community. The program brings together houses of worship to provide temporary homes, facilities to provide space during the day for case management, and most importantly, thousands of volunteers who, by sharing a few hours of their time, enable families to turn their lives around. Since opening its doors in 2004, FPGC has served 183 families, 216 adults and 378 children.

This is done through a partnership of 36 local congregations and involves 1,700 volunteers. Four families stay in a host congregation for one week at a time with approximately 60-70 volunteers caring for the needs of the families during their stay. FPGC is currently serving its 31st family of 2014 In November, 2011 PFGC opened the SaltLight Center, near downtown Lawrenceville, as a winter shelter for women and women with children. SLC opened with eleven beds, and soon after opening realized the need was much greater than just the winter months and kept it open year round, Monday through Friday. In June of 2014, FPGC opened the SLC seven nights a week. Since 2011, SLC has served almost 700 individuals and so far in 2014, 225 women and 119 children.

Also, in 2014 FPGC extended its After Care Program to continue the case management of its families for up to one year after leaving the FP Program. Because of the extent of financial and in-kind contributions, FPGC is able to help families despite a very low budget—while at the same time building community between its volunteers and the families served in the program. FPGC has reached out to its partner congregations to plan events during Family Promise Week to highlight the extent of the need right here in the community. Nationally, more than 70% of families served move on to long-term housing. Family Promise Week will help spread community awareness of the crisis of family homelessness right here in Gwinnett County.