One year ago, we published a feature story about Family Promise of Seattle, a small organization with the very specific goal of helping homeless families stay together while they get back on their feet. It’s based in the building you see above — an old fourplex leased from adjacent West Side Presbyterian Church — but that’s just its day center; local churches help house the families it helps. Recently, board member Laura Bermes e-mailed to share an update on the group – and with all the conversation triggered by “Nickelsville” and the SHARE sleepout protest, this seems like a relevant time:
Have you ever struggled to pay the rent, or wondered what would happen if you lost your job, or what might happen if you were to fall ill without adequate insurance? It doesn’t take a lot of bad luck to become homeless in Seattle. The cost of living keeps increasing, opportunity for employment keeps decreasing, incomes are falling and families are finding themselves homeless. In the Seattle School District last year, more than 900 students were identified as being “homeless”. It happens – and, yes, it happens right here in our sweet West Seattle. Fortunately, West Seattle offers a meager, but effective sheltering program for families where volunteers provide meals and a safe place to sleep at night through the generous support of area churches, and families find social service support at a Day Center.
Family Promise, West Seattle’s only sheltering program for homeless families, has served over 13 families since opening its doors in July of 2008. Single moms and their babies, toddlers, elementary, middle and high school students, and a couple of dads. The program has seen success, and has allowed hundreds of volunteers the opportunity to learn more about homelessness and to reap the benefit of caring for strangers. This is the kind of program that fits perfectly in this caring community that we all appreciate. Right now, Family Promise needs your help.
The Family Promise Board has set three ambitious goals for the continuation of this unique program: 1. to raise 90,000 in operating income by November 1st; 2. to increase Board Membership by recruiting interested business people in the community; and 3. to increase the number partner congregations / synagogues. In order to meet these goals, the Board is planning a Public Relations Campaign that will reach out to the West Seattle Community for support. We need your help to keep this family shelter in operation.
Here are Two Ways YOU can MAKE A DIFFERENCE: You can help by volunteering your time at a partner congregation, in the Day Center or by serving on the Board. You can help by donating money, or by becoming a member of “Club 206,” a group of individual donors (living in the 206 area code) that agree to give $206 a year. Visit the Family Promise website for more information or give a call to the Day Center at 937-2703.