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  • Rev. John-Mark Brown

The end of a long eventful year

Updated: Feb 1

As 2020 comes to a close, I want to share two stories of hope with you. This year has looked drastically different than any other in our 15-year history. Between a global pandemic limiting the number of families we can shelter and the additional needs of our community (shelter, food, and other services), Family Promise of Knoxville has done our best to be a place of refuge in tumultuous times. In this year of uncertainty, we witnessed some incredible feats of resilience.


After tragedy befell her family, Emma did the most courageous thing: she called Family Promise of Knoxville without knowing anything about our program. Emma bravely shared her story with us. She and her two children joined our shelter program in February. Before their 4th full week in shelter, Knox County went into a stay-at-home order. As we shifted to sheltering in-place, our families were left with a hard question: How do you stay-at-home when you don’t have one? Emma regained her confidence, found a job, kept her children safe, and located affordable housing at the end of June. She grew to see herself as an independent mother capable of leading her family to their bright future. They will celebrate the holidays sheltered, safe, and stable.


In a totally different set of circumstances, Natalie contacted a local partner (Compassion Coalition) and shared that she and her four children (1 teenager and 3 children between 9 – 3 years old) were on the verge of being evicted if they could not pay their a looming bill. A case manager at Compassion Coalition referred Natalie to our Safe-Keeping Prevention & Diversion Services. Once she met with our case manager and developed a plan for the next three months of family finances, we covered the family’s bill. We kept Natalie and her four children off the street, out of our shelter program, and housed safely in their home for less than $500. It would take more than 10x that amount in community resources, governmental services, and case management costs to get a family out of the cycle of homelessness. Natalie’s family is thriving in their own place this winter because we offered assistance before it was too late.


With your help, Family Promise of Knoxville can serve more families like Emma’s & Natalie’s. We can continue to create and streamline services that meet parents and their children where they are, as they are. As we finish out a year of hard-fought wins, will you help us celebrate the holiday season by giving to end family homelessness in Knox County? The hard work of equipping Knoxville’s most vulnerable families is impossible without your financial support.


Emma & Natalie’s families deserve a safe place to stay. Even more, they have a right to a home, where their children can grow, learn, and live without fear. Help us end the cycle of trauma that is family homelessness.



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