How do I apply for the program?
If you are on the Web site now, the easiest way is to go to the contact page, check the box that asks if you want to apply to be a guest family, fill in the contact information requested and hit the submit button. You will be contacted with 24 hours. If you have not heard from us within 24 hours email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
You may be referred to us as well. Our program director meets with potential referring agencies—shelters, public assistance offices, the Red Cross, and the Salvation Army.
How do I qualify for the program?
Family Promise targets its assistance to family units. This means parents or legal guardians with children. The family must have been making their best effort to find a permanent residence on their own, but are in need of assistance at this time. Potential guest families are thoroughly screened before acceptance into the program to determine if the family meets program criteria.
How long will it take to find us a permanent home?
The Guest Guidelines call for a maximum stay of 30 days. However, our program director may extend the stay as long as families are making good-faith efforts to find housing.
Will my children be able to go to school? If so, where will they go?
The program director works with the school system to ensure that all children attend school. The day center at 840 Bush Blvd. in Delray Beach is the permanent address for Family Promise of South Palm Beach County. Children go to the school they have been attending. Arrangements are made locally with the school system for transportation.
What are the accommodations like in the host congregations’ facilities?
Facilities usually include a lounge area (with sofa, chairs, tables, TV), a dining area, a kitchen, bathrooms, and sleeping accommodations. Often congregation facilities have separate rooms, such as a classroom, for each family. If that isn’t possible, a fellowship hall or other large room is divided by partitions to provide privacy.
It seems like it might be very hard to move to a new host congregation facility every week?
Moving every week is not ideal, but most families say that the homelike setting and the support of volunteers more than compensate for the moving. While host congregations change every week or two, the day center remains the same, providing continuity and a home base for families as they look for housing and jobs. The day center also provides a permanent address that families can use in their housing and job searches.
How do I become a volunteer?
If you are on the website now, the easiest way is to go to the contact page, check the box that asks if you want to be a volunteer, fill in the contact information requested and hit the submit button. You will be contacted with 24 hours. If you have not heard from us within 24 hours email us at email@example.com.
How can I help?
There are many things you can do to assist in the mission. Contact the congregation coordinator at your church or synagogue or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Volunteers can directly assist guest families by cooking meals, and dining with the guests at the host congregation facilities. They can help out with taking care of the children, and just chatting with the guests. You’re showing them respect and an interest in them as human beings is the greatest gift you can give! We need people who can provide pro bono services in many areas. If you are a health care, or legal professional you may be able to provide some important assistance directly to the guests. We always need fundraiser’s, and technical assistance in administering all aspects of this non-profit business.
Is there a continuing relationship and follow up with families after they found a new home?
Yes. There is a mentor program. A mentor is assigned to the family when they are accepted as a guest family. Volunteers keep in touch with a family to provide them with support and encouragement during their stay and afterwards as they transition back into the community. This is a very important assignment, and requires that the volunteer be trained for the program.
Our building is in use almost all the time. How will we find the space?
Churches and synagogues are busy places with many demands on their space. Rarely does a perfect space exist. Hosting almost always means making some scheduling adjustments for activities and meetings. For example, four or five times a year, AA or the Bible Study Group may need to move their Tuesday night meeting to another room.
Can families’ belongings be moved in the morning and moved back in the evening to permit the congregation to use the space during the day?
No. The sleeping accommodations need to be dedicated to the families for the entire host week. The beds and the guests’ belongings must not be moved in the morning and put back in the evening. Besides being cumbersome, moving the beds and the guests’ belongings would be difficult for guests. When guests arrive on Sunday, they come with their belongings and perhaps a few of their children’s favorite toys. They want to arrange their space as if it were their home.
What are the insurance implications of participating in the Network?
Does the congregation have to amend its policy?
Each local Network must carry general liability insurance. Congregations are usually covered by their own property and liability policies because Family Promise is considered to be an outreach ministry, a regular activity of the congregation like a youth sleepover or Friday night supper. Most congregations find they do not need extra insurance to be hosts. To be certain, each congregation must contact its insurance agent.