Family Promise of Shawnee offers hope to those who suffer from homelessness. The situation can strike entire families, as “Rick” knows.

Family Promise of Shawnee offers hope to those who suffer from homelessness. The situation can strike entire families, as “Rick” knows.

Rick is currently in the program for the second time with his two daughters, “Julie,” 12, and “Monica,” 13. He said he is currently on the list for housing, and is hoping to secure a full time job soon.

Family Promise was first started in New Jersey in 1986. Family Promise of Shawnee was founded in 2005, and was the first Family Promise in the state, Case Manager Brandy Lester said.

Family Promise assists homeless families with at least one child, including single parents with at least one child. The organization also assists homeless women who are pregnant.

The organization partners with area churches to provide overnight shelters. Families leave their things at the Family Promise day center where they are allowed to stay during the day, Lester said.

Transportation is also provided so residents can still get to work and school, along with other activities, she said.

When families are preparing to leave the program, local churches and other charitable organizations work with Family Promise to provide furnishings and the other items required for their new homes, Lester said.

Rick, who is working on his G.E.D., receives assistance in the form of being paid to attend school and aid from Temporary Assistance for Need Families, and medical care for himself and his daughters.

However he will be faced with more challenges if he secures a full time job, as he will lose most of his state assistance and will no longer be able to attend school. However, he said he is willing to let those go in order to find work.

“If they put me to work, I’m going to go straight to work,” Rick said.

He said he does still hope to get his G.E.D., though he expects it will take him until the end of the year.

Rick entered into the program after 10 years of homelessness, during which time he bounced around between relatives.

“It wasn’t my house – it was my family’s house,” he said.

Family Promise has been especially helpful for him, Rick said. They have allowed him a place to stay and store his things while assisting him in finding a more permanent housing solution.

It has also been especially helpful for his daughters, he said.

“It keeps a roof over their head,” Rick said, as well as allowing them to continue their education.

“That’s my main goal – to make sure they’re in school,” he said.

However, Rick still has the challenges any parent of two teenage girls would have.

“They gripe a lot,” he said with a chuckle.

Family Promise has helped Rick and his family have a place to stay, and has helped provide him with essentials he will need when he leaves their program, included linens, bedding and other items.

“I can’t say how much it’s helped me and my girls stay off the street,” he said. “If you really need help, this a good place to come with your family.”