Homeless shelter Family Promise of Seattle closing again – for good

Almost six months after reopening following a hiatus – West Seattle-based shelter program Family Promise of Seattle says it’s closing again, and this time it’s permanent.

After getting an e-mail announcement, we called to talk with executive director Norman Schwamberg, and he tells us the board determined “there just wasn’t sufficient money to continue operation and not really any hope in the foreseeable future to (generate money) to reopen with” – so they’re giving notice to their West Seattle day center’s landlord (the church next door) and will start clearing out.

Family Promise is a unique nationally franchised program: Rather than operate a physical shelter, they partner with local churches who provide shelter and meals for families, while FP administration helps the families find services and look for employment – that’s where the day center comes in. It opened here in 2008. Schwamberg says they’re looking for other nonprofits that can accept the items they’ll have to clear out of the day center. The last family they’re sheltering will likely move on today; he says they’re finishing the intake process with another organization.

Last August, FP closed after running out of money, but said they would reopen if they could raise $90,000 – enough money for a half-year of operations. They got it done, and reopened in June, but that half-year is almost over, and no source of sustainable funding emerged along the way.

4 Replies to "Homeless shelter Family Promise of Seattle closing again - for good"

  • Kristina November 21, 2011 (11:55 am)

    I am absolutely heartbroken by this news. As one of the hundreds of volunteers who helped to run this shelter, I saw up close the good that the shelter accomplished. Family Promise was the only shelter in Seattle that kept families together: husbands and wives could be together; young children could stay with their fathers; older boys could stay with their mothers. Other shelters don’t allow boys over 12 in the women’s shelter, and men’s shelters don’t allow children. I can not imagine what that is like for families who are already struggling, and I am deeply saddened that this resource is no longer available to families who need it.

  • coffee November 21, 2011 (12:13 pm)

    Oh this is bad news. With the rise of people needing assistance and the decline of agencies providing assistance this puts many families in a bad spot. Plus with the holidays right around the corner it is even more of a need. Now more than ever, our Non Profit agencies in the greater Pudget Sound need everyones help. Remember that while out and about this season.

  • CurlyQ November 21, 2011 (5:39 pm)

    I am really, really sad about this. The board and staff of FP were truly committed to serving homeless families, and succeeded several times in placing families in permanent homes and getting them connected with other resources. For fiath communities, it was a gift to be able to offer direct service and hospitality–an entirely different experience from putting a dollar into a basket. I urge all of us to dig a little deeper and do what we can to help the hungry and homeless, not just this season but throughout the year.

  • Gingersnap November 22, 2011 (10:54 am)

    During the less than 6 months since they had reopened, Family Promise hosted and found transitional and permanent housing plus services for families comprising 29 people, 20 of them children. This program really worked. It is a tragedy for our community that it became necessary to close it, especially as the weather becomes increasingly inclement and the holidays near. I agree with CurlyQ. We must do more to help the hungry and homeless.

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