FROM PROGRAM GRADUATES:
How Family Promise Helped My Family...
I came to Family Promise with my two children when I was practically living on the streets. I was very scared, not knowing what I was going to do. Family Promise took me in and set me in the right direction. The Family Promise case worker helped me gain financial stability, helped me register my children for school & assisted me in finding a new home. The churches where we stayed at night gave us a safe place to sleep. The congregational volunteers were so supportive and encouraging to me and my children, even though my daughter can be quite a handful! It took me about two months to graduate the Family Promise program – now my children and I are living in our own home. Family Promise went above and beyond for me in one other way; I’m now employed as a van driver for the program. I am truly grateful to Family Promise for helping to get us back on our feet and in a safe home.
Family Promise of St Tammany Graduate
A Helping Hand to Finish a Home
Our first family was homeless after their house caught on fire. With eleven children and one on the way, it was difficult finding a place to rent suitable for a family their size. While moving between several rentals and staying with a relative in a small home, they were working on building a new home. After fifteen months passed, finding the final funds needed to complete their home became difficult
A local church member told them about Family Promise of St. Tammany. While in the program, Family Promise networked to help one child obtain a college scholarship. A congregational volunteer provided a year’s worth of free medical care to one of the children who was recently diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Another congregation offered free summer camp for all the school-aged kids. Several host congregations provided the family with construction materials, furniture, bedding and other household items for their new home.
After about seven weeks in the program, both working parents were able to save enough money to finish and move into their new home. Their twelfth baby was born a few weeks later.
A Fresh Start through Family Promise
The story of our second family is not uncommon. Two parents with full time jobs were making just enough to pay for rent, utilities, food and other basic needs for their four children. Then without adequate warning the landlord decided to increase the rent. Without a rental contract, the family had no recourse so they were evicted.
They had no place to go and were faced with living in their car. With school about to start, they desperately needed a home address to register the kids at school and to avoid the possibility of their children
being turned over to child services. This is a perfect example of why so many homeless families remain “invisible”.
Thankfully, the day before school started the family was accepted into the Family Promise program and within twenty-four hours, each child was registered for school and provided school supplies and uniforms. More importantly, the children found security knowing they had a bed to sleep in, food to eat and a safe place to focus on their homework. Family Promise volunteer’s helped with tutoring and the children’ grades returned to A’s and B’s.
The Program worked with the local Housing Authority to grant them a Section 8 Housing voucher and quickly found an affordable, long-term home for the family. A local congregation assisted with their rental deposit. Within 3 weeks, the family was in their new rental home. But the blessings were not theirs alone. Volunteers were blessed by the family too. As one volunteer expressed, “I came in here thinking I was going to transform their lives; instead they transformed mine.” And in spite of their own trials, both the husband and wife mentored and encouraged a single mom staying in the program.
PERSPECTIVES FROM VOLUNTEERS, PASTORS & COMMUNITY LEADERS:
A Board Member's Perspective...
Family Promise of St. Tammany is an essential thread within the fabric of our communities. Central to the mission of Family Promise, sustainable independence is critical to the success of our families and we are committed to ensuring those families in need are provided the fundamental resources necessary to promote a quality of life we all strive for on the northshore.
Comprehensive resources supported through our Day Center and dedicated volunteers at our partnering faith-based congregations uniquely empowers Family Promise of St. Tammany to deliver on its mission to strengthen families and provide stability necessary to advance job security and permanent housing.
William S. Wainwright, Ph.D.
2016 Board President
A Board Member's Perspective...
Family Promise provides a safe and stable environment for our clients to regain their self confidence and rebuild their lives.
2016 Board Member
A Volunteer's Perspective...
One of the greatest joys of working as a volunteer for Family Promise of St. Tammany is seeing my faith put into action by helping my neighbor. Through FPST we are given a chance to help families who are down on their luck. These families are depressed about losing their home; the children are stressed with not knowing where they will sleep each night; they have to trust strangers; sleep in strange places…they basically have to give up control of their lives. It’s a terrible burden. Through Family Promise we can encourage them and give them hope in a loving, non-judgmental environment. We can lighten that burden. We can help them take their mind off their worries and relax for a bit of time. We can celebrate birthdays and holidays that otherwise might not be celebrated. We can help kids with their homework or obtain school supplies. We give them a safe place to come each night. We make friends and establish lasting bonds. We show that people do care and love their neighbors not just in word but in deeds. I highly recommend any parish to participate in the Family Promise of St. Tammany program. It is highly rewarding to everyone involved.
Thanks & God Bless,
Eddie Mitts | Congregational Volunteer