We know that people across Whatcom County experience homelessness. We see it in the city, we hear about it in the county, and we long to do something to help. The Interfaith Coalition of Whatcom County’s FAMILY PROMISE Program, is working to provide shelter, meals and community to families experiencing homelessness. In the 2015-2016 school year, approximately one of ever 26 Whatcom County children experienced homelessness for all or part of the school year. Families are sleeping in cars, out in the woods, or on the floors of friends, facing fears about how to keep their children safe and well fed.
Family Promise is an exciting program where congregations host homeless families at their churches and synagogues for a week at a time. Volunteers provide meals and fellowship for our families, in addition to a place to lay their heads. During the day, families go to the Family Promise Day Center to work with Family Promise case managers who will provide comprehensive support services. Transportation from congregations, to school, and to the Day Center is provided by a Family Promise van for families without their own car.
As of August 2019, our local Family Promise chapter has sheltered 23 families – 82 individuals, including 55 children in our Family Promise program since opening. The average stay is 8 weeks. In addition, we continue to connect these families with employment opportunities, health care advice, legal advice, child care, and more.