In an effort to help one of the most vulnerable populations during the coronavirus pandemic, members of Chaparral Christian Church volunteered to shelter and provide meals for families experiencing homelessness in partnership with Family Promise of Greater Phoenix.
Family Promise rescues primarily first-time homeless families, including their pets, and provides emergency shelter and basic needs while assisting these families in returning to independence.
Family Promise of Greater Phoenix relies on its interfaith network of volunteer churches and synagogues to shelter and feed the families they serve while Family Promise assists these families on their journey back to self-sufficiency.
This community-based model of sheltering the families at the congregations reduces overhead costs so that Family Promise can magnify its impact, according to a press release.
During the coronavirus pandemic, volunteer congregations comply with a strict set of health and sanitary guidelines to reduce the risk of exposure while they support the critical work of sheltering families in need.
“Unlike other organizations, our goal is to keep families together as they navigate the most difficult times in their lives. Keeping kids with their parents and pets reduces the risk that they find themselves without a home in the future,” said Ted Taylor, executive director of Family Promise of Greater Phoenix. “We are so thankful to our network of volunteer organizations like Chaparral Christian Church that are still able to help us support or families during this challenging time.”
As a volunteer congregation, Chaparral Christian Church was responsible for preparing dinner for the families every night of the week for one week. Pre-pandemic, Chaparral Christian Church would also set up temporary shelters at its facility to host families overnight. Instead, families are sheltered at Family Promise day centers according to coronavirus protocols.
Families experiencing homelessness are more at-risk during crises and pandemics than other populations as housing instability limits access to hygiene and families facing homelessness are not always able to secure basic needs such as cleaning products and sanitizers. Additionally, the stress of housing instability and lack of access to nutrition and wellness make families more susceptible to disease.
Since the beginning of the year, Family Promise of Greater Phoenix has rescued more than 130 families from their program into independent housing and self-sufficiency, and has also assisted 17 families to stay out of the shelter system through their preventative programming.
For more information on volunteering with or donating to Family Promise of Greater Phoenix, visit FamilyPromiseAZ.org.