Family Promise Graduations Help Keep Homeless Families Together

By Amanda Boston

Two weeks before Christmas, DyAnn Dalton, a mother of three was down-and-out with no place to go. She explained, “I had a really hard time finding help. Family Promise was the first place that got me the practical help I needed, and it was quick.” In Hillsborough County, 18 percent of the homeless are families.

Family Promise of Greater Brandon is a non-profit public charity partnering with local churches and resource centers to help homeless families attain permanent sustainable housing. The 90-day program is not a short-term fix. It equips families with a plan to become self-sufficient through its hands-on training in financial literacy and case-by-case management of resources and services.

A vast majority of homeless shelters separate families based on gender and age. However, Family Promise furnishes room and board for the entire family in temporary spaces offered by local congregations. John Hamman, a single father of two daughters encountered countless closed doors until he knocked on Family Promises’ door. Edwina Reddick, the director of Family Promise explained, “There are not many programs designed to keep the family together, especially for single dads. Keeping the family together increases stability for the children.”

In pursuit of a potential job, Shaun and Althea Weller along with their three children packed up and relocated from Mobile, Alabama to the Tampa Bay area. Unfortunately, the anticipated employment was delayed for a few weeks. With no cash flow, the family stayed at a local campground and waited for the work to begin. But misfortune struck again—this time in the form of a storm.

“A terrible storm destroyed the campsite and all of our things. In the parking lot, we started praying. We called around to different shelters, but Family Promise was the only place where we could all stay together,” said Mr. Weller.

In September 2016, Shaun and Althea Weller graduated from the program. Today, the dual-income family resides in regular rent housing as opposed to low-income housing. “God answered our prayers. We learned how to budget and won’t end up in the same place again,” affirmed Shaun.

Family Promise of Greater Brandon operates with minimal staffing. The driving force behind the organization is its kindhearted volunteers, congregations and donors. The organization is locally funded through donations, grants and fundraising events. Without volunteers and donors, Family Promise would cease to exist. To find out more how you can donate or volunteer, visit FamilyPromiseBrandon.org or call 681-6170.