Family Promise celebrates two years of helping Juneau families

We help families regain their independence.

When I describe Family Promise of Juneau, I love to use the phrase “A community response to family homelessness.”

On April 30, we celebrate two years of walking alongside families experiencing a housing crisis and alongside volunteers who serve families in an effective way.

It is our birthday and we are thankful.

Thankful for the brave families we serve and the light that they bring when hope is renewed.

Thankful for the generous and hospitable volunteers who give their time, talent, treasure and favorite kid pleasing recipes.

Thankful for community and how it challenges and grows who we are.

[Family of seven was homeless until this program came along]

Over 500 volunteers in Juneau have stepped forward to participate in making meals, staying overnight, driving the van and helping at the day center.

As with most communities, it is beautiful, messy and life giving. We have smelled diapers together. We have cried together. And we have celebrated babies walking their first steps and celebrating birthdays. We have been overjoyed at new jobs and new homes.

In two years, Juneau has provided over 4,500 bed nights and 13,500 meals to 19 families composed of 71 individuals. Of those 19 families, 14 have moved into housing and two are currently staying with us.

[Cuts could close down Housing First, Glory Hall homeless services]

That means, so far, 82 percent of families Family Promise has served — that our Juneau community has served — have successfully moved into housing.

We say that at Family Promise we help families regain their independence. But if we leave it at that, we leave out so much of why what we do is so effective: relationships. Families regain independence through interdependence.

As we look to the future, we acknowledge that in the 2017-2018 school year, Juneau School District counted 223 students who lacked fixed, regular, nighttime residence.

The journey continues. We will hold babies, comfort parents after a long day, and encourage their persistence.

We welcome anyone who is interested in getting involved to give us a call at (907)500-3032. There is no requirement to be part of the faith community to be involved in this good, and don’t let this scare you away.

• Shannon Fisher is the executive director of Family Promise of Juneau. “Living Growing” is a weekly column written by different authors and submitted by local clergy and spiritual leaders.

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