Family Promise of Gallatin Valley is a non-profit interfaith network that formed in 2006 to help homeless families with children. We are part of a highly successful national organization that seeks to end homelessness – one family at a time. Beth Shalom has been volunteering through Family Promise since its inception and we contribute as a Partner Congregation among the diverse faith organizations within our network. Screened families participate in the program and, while being housed and fed in congregational facilities (Host Congregations), parents work on some of the issues that may have contributed to their situations that led to homelessness. It may be to get a drivers license or GED, to find a job and childcare, to save for a car to provide reliable transportation. Whatever the reason, these families need a little boost and Family Promise offers support, parenting classes, community resources and provides a transition from homelessness to becoming contributing members of our community. Being fully employed is a critical requirement and parents who enter the program must either have a job or actively seek one. Families can participate through Family Promise for a period up to three months, by which time they should be prepared to find housing.
As a Partner Congregation, Beth Shalom helps provide meals and support to families while they are housed at Pilgrim Congregational Church, the Host Congregation we are partnered with. Families in the program rotate through the Host Congregations, spending a week as each. With the current rotation, each congregation typically volunteers 4 weeks per year. During the day our families, while not at work, spend time at our Day Center which serves as a place to do laundry, shower, seek employment and housing, bus stop for school children, and where families meet with the full time case worker to work on a variety of issues. Then in the evening the families come to the Host Congregation to eat supper and spend the night. Trained volunteers spend time with the families and help with homework, read books, watch movies or just provide some companionship to the children and their parents. This has become a truly rewarding experience for the volunteers, partly because our success rate is over 80% and we continue to see families who have graduated from the program active within the community.