Behind the Numbers

How do we derive the statistics that inform our work and reflect our impact?

Nearly 1 million served since 1988

As the leading organization addressing family homelessness, Family Promise impacts the lives of tens of thousands of people nationwide each year. That impact is illustrated in countless inspirational stories of success, but it is also reflected in our annual statistics: 200,000 volunteers, 93,000 family members served, 82% of the families we serve in shelter secure housing, and we return $3 in goods and services for every $1 raised.

Behind the Numbers provides in-depth details and citations to document the work behind our results.  Follow the links throughout this page to access the sources of the data presented.

3:1 Ratio (per Affiliate, based on yearly averages from Family Promise census)

Value of Volunteer Time
Volunteer Hours
Volunteer Value
Facility Cost (5-bedroom facility and office space)
Meals Cost ($15/primary meal)
Donated Supplies (diapers, towels, toiletries, etc.)
Skills-based Volunteering
Additional Expenses Donations (childcare, licenses, etc.)
Large Item Donations (cars, housing, furniture)

Total of In-kind Donations

Average Affiliate Budget (Year 1)






93,000 Served Last Year/82% Secure Housing (Family Promise census)


In 2018, Family Promise Affiliates served more than 126,000 men, women and children.  88% of the families we serve  in our shelters secure housing, on average, within 9 weeks of entering the program.

But the majority of the family members we serve are not experiencing homelessness.  Many are at risk of losing their housing and Family Promise prevention services like landlord mediation and rental assistance help them remain in their homes and avoid the trauma of homelessness.  Others have graduated from the shelter program but are still facing the challenges of gaining true financial independence as they work to put their lives back together.  Family Promise stabilization programs are there to offer support:  food donations, transportation, financial capability, workforce development, health and wellness, and many more.

Our comprehensive approach helps at-risk families avoid homelessness in the first place and helps those we have served create opportunities today that will allow them to realize their potential tomorrow.

200,000 Volunteers Engaged Nationwide

There are 200+ operating Family Promise Affiliates in 43 states.  Each Affiliate is supported by, on average, 25-30 congregations and other organizations providing the volunteers who are the backbone of our work.  Affiliates that have a tracking system for their volunteers often count more than 3,000 in their community.  They provide home-cooked meals, sleep overnight with the families, play Uno with the children, and provide skills-based training such as legal counsel, financial literacy, and childcare.  It is difficult to determine a precise total for those who give of their time and resources, so we take a very conservative approach and estimate an average of 1,000 volunteers per Affiliate, multiplied by 200 Affiliates nationwide, to reach our total of 200,000.

Housing is Unaffordable Nationwide for Low-Income Workers

Family homelessness is merely a symptom of a much larger, systemic problem with the American economy—incomes have not kept pace with housing costs.  Since 1960, rents nationwide have risen 61% while renters’ average incomes have only increased by 5%.

This has led to our current situation: 2.5 million children will experience homelessness in America this year.  Families are living paycheck to paycheck, with little or no savings, at the mercy of one accident, illness, or slowdown at work leading to eviction or credit-crushing debt.  The Federal Reserve Board’s   report on financial well-being, discovered that 47% of respondents said they would need to sell something or borrow money to cover an unexpected $400 emergency.

So, while housing is the most immediate need for families in crisis, it is not a magical solution.  If we do not address the many contributing cause to families losing their homes, we will simply be converting families from homeless with few options to housed with few options.  Our vision is a nation in which every family enjoys stability, security, and the opportunity to realize the future that every child deserves.

Homelessness and Poverty Facts

  • The three most cited reasons for family homelessness are:
    • Lack of affordable housing
    • Unemployment
    • Poverty
  • 2.5 million children will experience homelessness this year in America–that is 1 in 30 children in the world’s most affluent country.
  • More than 1.3 million school children were homeless in school year 2016-17.
  • 51% of homeless children are under the age of 5 and, therefore, too young for school and are not counted.
  • Nearly 35% of all homeless persons nationwide are families with children.
  • Homeless families are often hidden from view–they are living in motels, cars, campgrounds, or doubled up in overcrowded apartments.
  • Nearly 40 million people (1 in 8) in the U.S. live below the poverty line.
  • In 2018, 16.2 percent of children (11.9 million) were living in poverty. (Source)
  •  The official poverty line for a family of four with two children is $25,465 per year. (Source)
  • A worker needs to earn $12.73/hour to reach the poverty level for a family of four.
  • A renter must earn $21.21/hour to afford a 2-bedroom rental in the U.S.
  • In only 22 counties in the country can a worker making the federal minimum wage afford a Fair Market Rent 1-bedroom apartment.
  • 11 million renter households now pay more than 50% of their income for housing–an increase of 3.7 million households since 2001.
  • Only 25% of those eligible for federal housing assistance receive help, due to lack of funding.
  • For every 10 extremely low-income households, there are only 3 affordable rentals available nationwide.
  • To meet the needs of low-income families, 4.5 million affordable housing units must be added to the current supply.
  • In America, just over 16 million children (1 in 5) live in households where they have to skip meals or eat less to make ends meet.


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