Scottsdale-based Family Promise of Greater Phoenix announced it has so far served 75 families this year, comprised of 103 adults and 148 children.
Family Promise, a nonprofit organization that rescues primarily first-time homeless families and their pets and helps them return to independence, continues fulfilling its mission despite challenges resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.
Before the coronavirus pandemic, Family Promise relied on its network of volunteer churches and synagogues to shelter and feed the families it serves while the Social Work Team assisted these families on their journey back to self-sufficiency, according to a press release.
The nonprofit suspended its community-based model of operations in mid-March to protect its volunteers and families from the virus. What took an average of 105 congregational volunteers each week to care for the families, Family Promise is has been doing with 10 full-time employees.
“Families experiencing homelessness are more at-risk during pandemics than other populations, which means we couldn’t abandon our mission to help the Valley’s most at-risk families,” Ted Taylor, executive director at Family Promise of Greater Phoenix, said in a prepared statement.
“I’m so proud of our staff and volunteers for their efforts to pivot our operations to continue helping so many families stay together and find a safe place to call home.”
At the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, Family Promise worked to rapidly deploy a social-distancing strategy utilizing its day centers where families usually connect with social workers to continue helping families in need.
The nonprofit secured beds and bedding to allow families to shelter in place at its day centers in south Scottsdale for seven months. Congregations, who would normally shelter and feed families in the program, instead volunteered to bring meals to families sheltering in place.
While families stayed at the refurnished day centers, they continued to go through and graduate from Family Promise programming that helped parents find secure jobs, keep kids in school, and secure permanent housing for families.
By continuing to graduate families out of the Family Promise program, they have been able to consistently open up new space for other families in need, a release states.
“Had we not been able to adapt to our current reality, many of these families would be in dire, life-threatening situations as they await the top spot on the Valley’s shelter waiting list,” Mr. Taylor said. “Fortunately, with the help of our donors, volunteers, and staff, we’ve been able to keep our promise to serve families in need.”
Mr. Taylor warns, however, the company can only maintain its adapted operational structure for a limited time.
“While we’ve found a way to keep helping families, our new systems are much more costly in terms of staff resources as well as physical resources to serve the families,” Mr. Taylor said. “We hope that conditions will become safe to return to our proven methods to help a large number of vulnerable families.”
Mr. Taylor says that the community can help Family Promise maintain its operations by donating at FamilyPromiseAZ.org.