How it Works

How Can My Congregation Become A Host Congregation?

bellingham-homeless-shelter-for-familiesFamily Promise offers an opportunity for a truly unique congregational outreach.  Volunteers of all ages work together within their own congregations, among many in the community, to help bring about a real change for families who have lost their homes.

The Basics:

  • The network consists of 10-13 hosting congregations which provide space for typically 3 or 4 families (5 maximum) and no more than 14 individuals, mostly children, to stay for a week at a time.
  • During the day, families are at the Day Center, where staff works with them on a plan to move to self-sufficiency.
  • There is transportation provided between the Day Center and the congregations.
  • Volunteers are the heart of the program and range from people cooking meals or moving beds to those sleeping overnight or playing games with children.   A host congregation will host 4-5 weeks out of the year.

Keys To Start:

  • Good communication.  Talk about the program and make sure everyone understands the components. Answer questions and garner support before the vote is taken.
  • Knowledge.  People want to help homeless children and their families, but there are many misconceptions and fears that people will have, spoken or unspoken.
    • Who?  This is a program for families with children.  Our primary concern is that we provide children and their families with stability and start them toward self-sufficiency.
    • Safety?  There is professional management and all families go through an intake process.  Families with active substance abuse problems, untreated mental illness or domestic violence are not accepted into the program.
    • Space?  Classrooms, meeting rooms or a large space divided off into discreet areas.  As a congregation hosts only 4-5 times/year, rearranging church activities happens infrequently.
    • Insurance?  This is outreach involving families, and no different than other programs run at your congregation.  This is a hospitality program, not a shelter.
    • Money?  You are responsible for all meals, linens (not beds), and a few personal items.  Volunteers usually provide these items but if not, budget approximately $200 per host week.