Awareness of a local problem
As temperatures drop, awareness of the homeless population needs to be recognized and considered as we find ways to get families off the streets and into shelters.
A homeless person is defined as “a person sleeping in an emergency shelter or place not meant for human habitation; or a person in transitional housing for homeless people who originally came from the street or an emergency shelter,” according to the Continuum of Care Planning & Policy Council of Linn County.
On Jan. 25, a total of 397 individuals (111 men, 122 women, 164 children) were served by local emergency shelters, transitional housing facilities, or were found living on the street in Linn County. Emergency housing is defined by HUD as “any facility with overnight sleeping accommodations, the primary purpose of which is to provide temporary shelter for the homeless in general, or special populations of homeless people.” Length of stay can range from one night up to as much as three months.
As president of Family Promise of Linn County board, I can tell you that we are just gearing up our program with area churches We will provide help for families and fill the gap between homelessness and finding a job, finding a place to live, and finding supportable outcomes. Our mission is to help homeless and low-income families achieve sustainable independence through compassionate care, hospitality and professional support.
Because childhood homelessness is prevalent in Linn County, Family Promise has partnered with 12 church congregations and their volunteers. These generous individuals are ready to provide a warm and welcoming space for families to call home while they get back on their feet and into sustainable housing.
Family Promise provides homeless families with safe shelter, nutritious meals and the comprehensive support necessary for a more promising future.
A dedicated board of directors manages the program and provides support. A new director is expected to join our team in early January.
As a national organization with local presence, Family Promise has come to represent not just programs that touch the lives of more than 67,000 people in need annually and that engage more than 180,000 volunteers.
It represents a national movement that believes we can address family homelessness — right here in our own communities.
• Tammy Stines is president of the board for Family Promise of Linn County