Family Promise offers shelter to homeless families

Shenandoah County opened the 200th affiliate of the National Family Promise organization in January 2016 with 13 churches committed to hosting a homeless family with meals and sleeping accommodations once every three months.

To date Family Promise has helped 20 families representing 38 children and 34 adults. The average stay is 62 days and 84 percent of the families obtained their own housing and 16 percent obtained housing with their extended family.

Family Promise programs are dedicated to helping homeless families by providing temporary shelter, meals and support while enabling families to survive independently in a sustainable environment with housing, clothing, food, employment, transportation, etc.

Today, there are 11 host churches, 24 support churches, and 24 partner churches, representing half of all the churches in the Shenandoah County area. They generate more than 700 volunteers providing varying levels of assistance.

The federally approved nonprofit organization has an annual operating budget of roughly $110,000 a year and is financially supported through donations and fund-raising events, such as Cardboard City.

The financial goal of Cardboard City, which was held Friday night through Saturday morning,  was to raise $15,000, said Becky Leland, administrative assistant at Woodstock’s Antioch Church of the Brethren, which spearheaded the event that gave participants an overnight experience of being homeless.

She estimated the final tally would be close to $20,000 and she deemed it “a success.”

Family Promise is located at 781 Spring Parkway in Woodstock, next to the Valley Health Shenandoah Memorial Hospital. The nine-room facility serves as a support anchor with computers, counseling and other services for the families