The COVID-19 health crisis has been a proving ground for Americans, and no less so for Family Promise, volunteers, and partners who have found unique, creative, and resourceful ways to ensure families continue to receive the support they need while working toward independence.
Without a home, how does a family safely self-quarantine? Just as important, how do they continue to strive for success during a global health pandemic?
Quick to adapt to the “new normal,” Family Promise Affiliates have found alternate ways to serve families.
Family Promise of Greater Savannah, GA: Partnering with Airbnb owners to use vacant properties as temporary housing.
Family Promise of Union County, NJ: Collaborating with landlords to put families in unoccupied apartments.
Family Promise of Clark County, WA: Optimizing Family Promise’s national partnership with Motel 6 to house families.
Family Promise of Great Falls, MT: Partnering with a local university to place families in vacant dormitories.
Family Promise of Morris County, NJ: Teaming up with other service providers to obtain housing vouchers, coordinate housing with landlords, and furnish properties.
In addition to meeting Family Promise families’ needs, Affiliates have found solutions to local issues resulting from the pandemic. In Pulaski County, AR, Family Promise placed handwashing stations throughout the community for those without ready access to sanitary supplies. At a community diaper drive in Hall County, GA, an area with a significant Hispanic presence, a Family Promise mom who speaks Spanish serves as a liaison and translator.
Coronavirus and employment
Even during the COVID-19 crisis, Family Promise has helped many parents find jobs and manage challenges like finding – and affording – childcare.
“Parents might be terminated if they don’t show up for work,” explains Greater Savannah’s Executive Director Katrina Bostick, who helped working parents make childcare arrangements. “These parents want to stay viable in the workforce. They don’t want to experience another episode of homelessness.”
Family Promise is also helping families cope with the emotional side of the crisis. Affiliates provide remote case management and regularly check on families. Volunteers have provided meals and necessities for doorstep deliveries or curbside pickup, made Easter baskets, supplied crafts and toys for children, created online buddy programs for moral support, helped families manage school-from-home…making life is as normal as possible.
No one can predict how long such modifications will be necessary, but Affiliates are using their experiences with COVID-19 to prepare for the future. Family Promise of Hall County Executive Director Lindsey McCamy says, “When this is all over, there will be so much need in the community. We have to be prepared so when that surge comes, we’re ready.”