By Bonnie Mentel
Family Promise is an organization that provides temporary shelter for homeless families in the Brandon area. Along with housing, the families are connected to counseling and resources in the community.
“Family Promise of Greater Brandon is a part of a bigger picture. Nationally, we have 200 affiliates in 44 states and over 170,000 volunteers. There are over 6,000 congregations nationwide. We are a community-based program providing a one-way solution, not a revolving door, to children and their families who are experiencing homelessness. This provides an opportunity for congregations to put their faith in action,” said new Executive Director, Edwina Reddick.
In order to assist with housing, the organization works with partner churches. Bay Life Church, First United Methodist of Brandon, First United Methodist Church of Seffner, Grace Community United Methodist at FishHawk, Nativity Catholic Church, and Journey Church are some of the partner churches that help provide temporary housing.
After a temporary stay, it is the families’ responsibility to find their own housing and they are encouraged to find that housing as soon as possible.
“To sum it up, we are a community-based program who provides all of the necessary tools that a family needs to move on, getting back to that place of self-sufficiency,” Reddick said.
One way they do this is through a Financial Literacy Program that covers banking, insurance, budget, taxes, and other topics that are important for families to achieve self-sufficiency.
“Since opening our doors May 4, 2014, we have graduated 19 families. Upon leaving the program, one adult member in the family was gainfully employed. Each family went into affordable housing. Some have had challenges, but because of the education, the information and the resources provided by Family Promise, they were able to navigate the system and remained housed, which is our mission,” Reddick said.
Reddick said that every family has a story. She likes to help replace the mindset of what a homeless person is. She said that homeless families are the fastest growing segment of the homeless population right now and that the majority of families that they work with have run into a bad time, usually as the result of a job loss or medical issue.
To learn more about Family Promise, visit www.familypromisebrandon.org. They are located at 121 Carver Ave. in Brandon. Call 681-6170.