LIMA — The mission of Family Promise is to help families experiencing homelessness and low-income families achieve sustainable independence through a community-based response.
The group coordinates compassion for kids and families to address the root causes of homelessness. Family Promise is an all-inclusive, faith-based agency that works with other agencies to provide help, hope and a safe environment while seeking suitable housing.
“At our family homeless shelter, we bring in families and keep them together. We’re just there to give them the resources they need, but they have to do the work,” said Hellen Douglas, executive director of Family Promise Allen County.
Former Executive Director Russ Thomas added, “When it comes to Family Promise, these folks right here are what I call social services-homeless. These are people that had a one-time incident. Boom, they have a trial; they put their foot into homelessness and now are seeking a way out. They are trying to find something.”
Junior Ramos is case manager at Family Promise for the in-house families as well as the Lima motel clients that are partnering with West Ohio Community Action Partnership
“The COVID crisis has left a lot of folks homeless,” Ramos said. “We look at our local organizations, and every single one of us has limited resources, unless we all come together. Then we can work together we get more done. With the rise of homelessness over the past three years, it’s imperative that we work together because the resources are so minimal that we have to join together to pool our resources.”
The organization often has to deal with bigger issues, Douglas said.
“We try to operate the shelter Family Promise as its own little entity,” she said. “Our main focus is help the families with kids. But it’s so much bigger than that. A lot of times we find that the people that are out there in hotels, the singles or couples, they’ve lost their kids. If maybe we could have caught them six months before, a year before, they might be here.
“What we find with families, they don’t want to be found because they are afraid that somebody will take their kids. So that’s the message we are trying to get out there, that we want to assist you. You don’t have to hide. We want to help you get back on your feet, find you the resources that you need, and help you move forward.”
Family Promise can’t find homes. The housing market has increased so much. The homes that were available for $600 a month are now $850. But the mission is still to get families into houses, to get the clients into a stable life and give them a fair chance.
“We want the families; we want to bring these kids in; we want structure and stability back in their lives,” Douglas said. “I think that is one of the main parts of Family Promise that I like. I like to see the transformation of when a child comes in, and they are so afraid, then to see that fear comes off their shoulders. That’s what it’s about.”
Reach Dean Brown at 567-242-0409