Hopefully you have been seeing the announcements about Family Promise in all of our publications. Those who have participated in Family Promise over the years are familiar with the program. However, it has been a while since we last hosted, so I wanted to devote some time to sharing some information about this unique program.
According to the most recent statistics there are approximately 9,500 homeless people in Nevada, though in the course of a year it is estimated that 36,700 will experience some homelessness. Within that number there are an estimated 750 families that were considered homeless in 2014. Families are defined as units consisting of at least one adult and one child.
The general procedure in homeless shelters is to separate the men from the women and children. This means that if you have a unit with a husband, wife and child(ren), they will be split up each night. The other options are to be housed with friends or family or to live in a car or van on the street.
Family Promise is an organization that strives to keep families together, help parents find employment and put them on a path toward permanent housing.
Our part in the process is simple. We serve as temporary housing for families for a week. During that week we feed them and give them a comfortable place to “hang-out” until the families are ready to retire for the evening. We provide each family with a safe place to sleep. In the mornings, we provide them with breakfast and send them on their way. Many of the adults have jobs during the day and the kids have schools they attend. To make this happen, we have families who provide dinner or entertainment each night. We also have individuals from the congregation who stay overnight in the building. This is all done by volunteers. We also have people who make donations to purchase breakfast and snack food. It is not too late to volunteer for Family Promise. If you are interested in doing something or contributing funds, please contact Rabbi Tecktiel.
Family Promise’s mission is to help move people form homelessness to residency. If all works out well, Family Promise is usually able to get families into permanent homes or apartments within three months of the time they enter the program.
We have been working with Family Promise for the past 4-5 years and hope to continue our relationship with the organization. It is a wonderful way for our community to reach out to those who find themselves in a difficult life situation. Maimonides says the highest level of Tzedakah is providing someone with the tools to become independent. That is exactly what Family Promise does, and what we, in turn, help them accomplish.