We know that people across Whatcom County experience homelessness. We see it in the city, we hear about it in the county, and our congregations 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. As you begin to explore family homelessness in our county, consider the following:
- Approximately one of every 26 Whatcom County children experienced homelessness for all or part of the 2015-2016 school year, and
- This is an increase from one in 32 during the previous year.
Families experiencing homelessness 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.
The Interfaith Coalition of Whatcom County, a 501(c)(3), is committed to helping children and their families affected by this heartbreaking problem. Interfaith Coalition’s Family Promise program is an affiliate of the Family Promise national organization with programs in more than 200 communities throughout the United States. Family Promise shelters children and diverse families experiencing homelessness through the generosity of local congregations, where families receive overnight accommodations, meals, and fellowship from congregation members and volunteers. 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.
When parents receive help to meet their basic needs and are given the opportunity to create a plan to get back on their feet, they can begin to realize their dreams of providing a better life for their children. We can all work together to improve the lives of future generations, and in so doing, change our community for the better.
August 2019 Update from our Family Promise Program Manager, Carolyn Roy: “Currently, we have sheltered 23 families – 82 individuals, including 55 children in our Family Promise program since opening. The average stay is 8 weeks.” Soon we will have systems in place to track the number of intakes and referrals we receive and track each month. In addition, we plan to include the number of families who have found housing within the Interfaith system. We continue to connect these families with employment opportunities, health care advice, legal advice, child care, and more.