At Family Promise, we spend every day talking with families who have experienced or are at risk of homelessness. We believe that sharing their stories is essential to spreading awareness about family homelessness in the United States. Want to learn more? Check out our recent media coverage below.
January 17, 2021 - Family Promise of Knoxville helps people experiencing homelessness as eviction moratorium expiring nears
February 20, 2019 - Family Promise provides a home and hope after roaches, mold force family out of previous home
January 12, 2021 - Clayton & Family Promise partnership helped prevent more than 400 families from becoming homeless
MARYVILLE, Tenn., Jan. 12, 2021 – Clayton, a national home builder of site-built and off-site built homes, and Family Promise, a national non-profit dedicated to ending family homelessness, announce the annual impact of a national partnership that aims to prevent families from becoming homeless. In 2020, amid the COVID-19 pandemic and an economic crisis, the partnership helped prevent more than 400 families, including 900 children, from becoming homeless through three core programs: A Future Begins at Home, Partners in Housing and Housing Leadership.
“Clayton’s support of A Future Begins at Home has enabled us to increase the impact of our homelessness prevention and diversion programs and assist many more families facing homelessness,” said Claas Ehlers, CEO of Family Promise. “This has been crucial with so many families facing homelessness due to COVID and the economic crisis.”
Through A Future Begins at Home, Clayton and Family Promise provided education and resource development, comprehensive case management and other support services that enabled families facing homelessness to remain in their homes, including negotiating with landlords, assisting with back rent, and covering unexpected expenses to help families work toward financial stability.
"Our partnership with Clayton is meaningful philanthropy in action," says Cara Bradshaw Chief Impact Officer of Family Promise. "With the affordable housing crisis escalating this year, we have pivoted our services toward prevention and keeping families safe and housed. Clayton's support helps us deliver a sweeping and lasting impact nationally for families at risk of homelessness."
The Partners in Housing program educated and trained approximately 30 Family Promise Affiliates on the benefits of using off-site built housing as an affordable option for stable housing.
Through the Housing Leadership program, Clayton donated five off-site built homes to Family Promise Affiliates that used the homes to provide housing solutions to families in need.
“When I first turned to Family Promise, I had recently lost my home. The transitional housing program gave my family a place to live while I worked on improving my finances,” said Misti Whitehead, Family Promise Program Graduate. “I never dreamed I would be a homeowner again, but with the help of transitional housing I was able to improve my credit score, put money into savings and now I live in my dream home.”
In 2020, the homes donated by Clayton were used for both permanent and transitional housing, serving families for decades to come. Transitional housing offers families who have graduated from Family Promise programs a temporary home solution while they prepare for permanent housing. Three of the five home donations were used as transitional housing in 2020.
“The addition of transitional housing to the home donation program is an exciting and impactful step in our partnership,” said Kevin Clayton, CEO of Clayton. “This will exponentially increase the number of families we are able to support across the country through our partnership with Family Promise.”
The partnership with Family Promise will continue and grow in 2021 for the third year. This year, the partnership aims to prevent more than 700 families with children from becoming homeless through prevention and diversion services.
January 27, 2020 - Presbyterian churches promise to help families experiencing homelessness
Family Promise of Knoxville & Powell Presbyterian Church
Within the congregational network of Family Promise of Knoxville, Tennessee, is Powell Presbyterian Church, a small church that despite its size has had a big impact on the community.
Family Promise of Knoxville has served the community for 15 years. Powell has “been involved since the very beginning,” said Mary Thomson LeMense, executive director of Family Promise of Knoxville.
While Knoxville is the fourth largest city in Tennessee, LeMense says the community they serve is primarily rural. Knox County sits between Anderson and Blount Counties and many of the area’s employment opportunities are in neighboring Blount County.
She says that for families in the area her affiliate serves, transportation to and from work is a key issue. “Commuting costs so much that it often doesn’t work,” she said. “Having to depend on a vehicle for work is a major factor for homelessness in our community.”
The need for help is constantly growing, LeMense says: “At a minimum, we have about 80 families on our waiting list.”
“We are the only family shelter in the county and, with the exception of Family Promise of Blount County, in the surrounding counties.” So, support from congregations like Powell is crucial.
Powell Presbyterian Church only has about 90 members, but the group has not let its size stop them from getting involved. Pastor Katina Sharp says one of the defining aspects of the church is their involvement in the community. LeMense says that what makes them stand out to her is their willingness to use their resources to pitch in however they can.
“They literally give us every room they have to serve our families,” she said. “Overnight hosts spend the night in the pastor’s office.”
LeMense says that larger churches often will not participate because of busy schedules. Powell is an extremely active church, but devotes four weeks per year to Family Promise. “That just shows how strong their commitment is to help families experiencing homelessness,” she said. Sharp says that hosting for Family Promise can be work, but even small congregations have what it takes. “I hear churches say, ‘That’s a great organization and if we had more volunteers, if we had more space, if we had showers’ – and they insert many roadblocks – ‘we would do that.’ I think the biggest thing is even little churches can do it if it is a priority,” she said. “Yes, little churches can and are doing this just as effectively as the big churches are.”