Summit, NJ – On Wednesday, March 24 and Monday, March 29, 2021, Family Promise hosted a virtual town hall discussing the impact of the global health pandemic on the landscape of family homelessness, the work Family Promise does, and how donor support for families battling homelessness is changing the way Family Promise addresses this crisis.
Class Ehlers, CEO of Family Promise, was joined by Cara Bradshaw, Family Promise CIO, and Sandra Miniutti, Family Promise COO, to discuss new initiatives and partnerships that were made possible by donations. They also discussed how Family Promise and the families it serves have been affected by COVID-19.
Since the onset of the pandemic, Family Promise has seen a substantial increase in the need for services and has helped over 100,000 family members. With over 20 percent of renters behind on rent and hundreds of thousands of evictions still filed, despite the federal eviction moratorium, there is no shortage of families in need of help. In fact, as many as 8 million Americans have slipped into poverty as a result of the pandemic.
“Addressing each family’s holistic need, no matter if that’s housing, transportation, food, employment, or a combination of some or all of those, is what Family Promise does best,” Miniutti said. Panel members went on to discuss how COVID-19 has impacted Family Promise operations and continues to influence how the organization moves forward in 2021.
Raising awareness of family homelessness and the organization’s mission has become a large factor in Family Promise’s success in the midst of the pandemic.
Bradshaw shared a story of a single mother served by Family Promise of Laurens County who was $7 shy of her monthly rent payment when she and her family were evicted from their home. Thankfully, Family Promise was able to get her into her own home within a few weeks, as well as providing case management, job readiness, and opportunities to work on skills that will help the family be independent in the long term. Sharing stories like hers have increased brand awareness, brought traffic to the organization’s website, and raised awareness of the issue of family homelessness.
Through social media and collaboration with journalists from major media outlets, Family Promise is actively working to advocate on behalf of families experiencing homelessness and increase understanding of the national family homelessness issue.
Corporate partnerships have played a major role in Family Promise’s mission to find a long-term solution to family homelessness.
“You don’t want to just solve a problem today; you want to solve a problem long term. That’s always been Family Promise’s approach,” Ehlers said. On top of raising awareness and providing professional expertise, Clayton invested in A Future Begins at Home, Family Promise’s homelessness prevention, and shelter diversion program. Another partnership with National REIA is allowing Family Promise to build relationships with landlords to keep families permanently housed.
Ehlers highlighted how donors also play a part adding, “A child who experiences homelessness is going to have their future marked by that…Because of the support you have given us, we are able to clear those obstacles and make sure that child has the opportunity that every child deserves.”
Family Promise is implementing new initiatives and expanding the organization’s reach to meet the increased need of low-income families in 2021.
The COVID-19 pandemic sparked a shift to virtual services for families when in-person meetings became difficult. Now, Family Promise is working to continue to increase its ability to provide virtual support to families, a tool that will expand services long after the end of the pandemic. The organization is also focused on building out a robust virtual volunteerism program.
Here are some upcoming ways to support Family Promise.
Family Promise will be hosting its annual Giving Day on April 21, 2021. As part of the 24-hour campaign, donors can help share stories, spread the word about Family Promise, and raise funds for our important work. The 2nd annual Night Without a Bed social media campaign will take place on June 26, 2021, encouraging supporters to spend the night in their car, on the couch, or anywhere without a bed, to raise awareness for those who are experiencing homelessness.