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Hope for the Homeless: The Story of Family Promise By Kristen Eleveld Did you know that 2.5 million children are homeless in the United States? That averages out to about one in every 30 children – or, through another lens, at least one child in each average school classroom. Gwinnett County ranks third in Georgia for the highest homeless population, including nearly 2,000 Gwinnett County students. We can all agree that these statistics are heartbreaking, but we may not know how to go about changing them for the better. Luckily, there is one local organization that is dedicated to ending homelessness for families in need: Family Promise of Gwinnett County. Led by Executive Director Carol Love, the Family Promise organization doesn’t just offer beds – they offer solutions to homelessness through education, opportunities, and potential for growth. “We’re here to offer a hand up,” said Love, who has served as the executive director since 2019. “We provide parenting classes, budget management, job search assistance – everything a family needs to get back on their feet.” In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, which left many jobless and seeking help, Love and her staff are even more determined to help the homeless families of Gwinnett find their way to a better quality of life. Before 2020, families found shelter through Family Promise by way of local churches. Each participating church prepared a room or specific area that would allow a family to stay for one week. At the end of the week, the family would move to a new church, and continue this process for up to 90 days. But while many of the COVID-19 restrictions made this part of the program impossible to continue, the Family Promise team did what they do best and looked for a new answer. This answer came in the form of a local house, now called Promise Haven. Thanks to their partnerships with many companies in Gwinnett who have generously donated their time and resources – like Ordner Construction, Metro Waterproofing, Rocklyn Homes, BCA Architects, and countless

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others – this home will now serve as the new housing for people in the Family Promise program. The goal is to open Promise Haven in August, and Love and the Family Promise team are looking forward to serving more people through the use of this renovated home. They are especially motivated to help the thousands of local children who often suffer the most from the fallout that homelessness can bring. “Children are the innocent victims of homelessness,” said Love. “But they aren’t the faces you usually see, because they are often hidden.” Thanks to the Family Promise program, more children and their families have the chance to get back on their feet by following the steps that the organization offers. The initial stay for each family is 30 days, in which they are given specific goals to accomplish. After that time, the Family Promise team assesses the progress towards the goals and determines if the family will be staying for an additional 30 days, which will also bring new goals for them to achieve. This process goes on for up to 90 days, and each family receives counseling and opportunities for job searches, budget management, and affordable housing while participating in the program. Once they graduate, the relationship doesn’t end. Each family can choose to stay connected for as long as they want. In fact, the Family Promise board secretary was one of the first children to be helped by the Family Promise organization, which she credits as having a significant impact on her life. While the Family Promise model shifted with COVID-19, local churches are ready to keep doing their part to help by volunteering their time and resources at Promise Haven on a rotating basis throughout the year once the home is open to families. This means that many families have the chance to form relationships with some of the volunteers who are working with them during their stay. “The people who come to us want to get back on their feet,” said Love. “They want to do the work, and we want to help.” If you are interested in volunteering for Family Promise, or know someone who may benefit from their program, it’s easy to get in touch. Find them online or on social media, or just give them a call. You can be part of their mission to end homelessness, one family at a time. More information at https://familypromisegwinnett.org/

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May ’21 Our Town Gwinnett

Profile for Our Town Gwinnett Magazine

MAY 2021: (GREEN) Our Town Gwinnett/Walton Monthly Magazine  

Welcome to the MAY 2021 (GREEN) edition of Our Town Monthly Magazine for Gwinnett/Walton areas. #community #family #positive #faith #togethe...

MAY 2021: (GREEN) Our Town Gwinnett/Walton Monthly Magazine  

Welcome to the MAY 2021 (GREEN) edition of Our Town Monthly Magazine for Gwinnett/Walton areas. #community #family #positive #faith #togethe...

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