A New Year, A New Home

posted Dec 13, 2013, 7:06 AM by Courtney Bemus   [ updated Dec 13, 2013, 10:45 AM ]
Dear Friends of Family Promise,

The New Year for Family Promise holds much promise. We have the perfect new home for our Day Center –formerly the West View United Methodist Church on Middlebrook Pike. In early 2014 we will move into this beautiful building that will become a sanctuary for our families and children, staff and volunteers as we continue our mission - - to help homeless and low-income families achieve sustainable independence…ending homelessness one family at a time. 

Family Promise is a shelter program for homeless children and their families serving the Knoxville area since 2005.  At Family Promise we stretch every dollar to provide for our families.  We partner with 38 area congregations to house and feed our families. Classrooms are turned into bedrooms at our host churches and other congregations and groups of volunteers provide meals, serve as overnight hosts and greet each guest with warmth and a smile. Because of our unique partnerships, the cost of our program averages only $43 a day; far less than traditional shelters that can average over $200 a day. Family Promise is certainly a good investment! 

More space does so much more than give us some extra elbow room: it gives us the ability to expand to meet the needs of twice as many families.  The plight of homelessness has not let up. The numbers are staggering – on any given night it is estimated that 239,403 family members are homeless. In Tennessee 36.1% of homeless families are unsheltered – have no safe place to stay. And, of that number, well over one-half are children. [2012 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress.] Since 2005, Family Promise of Knoxville has served over 160 homeless families with 81% of them obtaining sustained housing.  Yet so many more are in need of our help.  Our waiting list of families with children numbers greater than 20 and the calls come in every day.

The numbers do not really tell the story.  Each family that finds shelter with Family Promise has a story to tell. Here is just one: Cody and Samantha have three children. Samantha became ill and was unable to work and Cody’s work cut his hours. They fought hard to keep their house but with less than half the needed income, the bills just got further and further behind. One day they were homeless.  For Cody and Sam the choices for shelter were few. Only Family Promise could provide them safe shelter as a family, plus individualized case management and training to get them back on their feet. It took Cody and Sam only three weeks to find employment and an apartment.  This precious family now has a home and an opportunity for a good life. That is what your donations to Family Promise do!

 Family Promise provides more than shelter. Our licensed clinical staff provides comprehensive case management and life skills training to our guests. Through the “Going Home Staying Home” program we do so much more than just find our families a home.  We follow our families for up to two years after they leave our shelter to ensure sustainable stable housing.  With these programs our families are at far less risk of the “revolving door” of programs and services.

Comments from past guests: 

“Words cannot describe how thankful I am; the love and compassion shown to us will always be remembered. Thank you and God bless.” 

“Thank you Family Promise for giving us an environment where we could just breathe, a place that is full of support and patience.” 

“I’ll never forget the smile on my daughter’s face when she said ’Mom – let’s go home!’”

 As a single Dad, I had “peace of mind knowing I could keep my daughter with me.”

With your help, our intention is to double our ability to assist homeless families by 2015. We will reach out to double the number of host congregations, asking them to partner with us to help the” least of these”. We will reach out to double the supporting congregations and groups to provide meals.  We will double our call to dedicated volunteers who really do care about their fellow man.  We will double our efforts to reach and create new supporters of Family Promise.

Your generosity to Family Promise is greatly appreciated.  When it comes to giving, we know that you have many worthy causes from which to choose. We would be honored for you to include us in your giving this holiday season.  Please take a moment to complete the gift information below with your donation. Thank you for giving so many homeless children and families an opportunity for a better life together. Only with your support can we further our vision of a community in which every family has a home, a livelihood, and the chance to build a better future together.  Our plan is ambitious – with your help we will succeed.

With deepest appreciation,

Mary Thomson LeMense ~ Executive Director

P.S. We are proud to be a United Way Partner.