Q, IS FAMILY PROMISE OF WAUKESHA COUNTY OPEN?
Q.WHAT SERVICES ARE BEING OFFERED BY FAMILY PROMISE OF WAUKESHA COUNTY?
A. At the end of March due to COVID-19, Family Promise of Waukesha County initiated the Family Homelessness Prevention Program. Since we were unable to provide our shelter program our focus changed to helping families remain in their homes. We established a fund to help those struggling with rent, mortgage payments, utility assistance, groceries, and car repairs. Since we began $44,000 has been donated to this fund. Our goal is to prevent a temporary problem from becoming a devastating issue for a family. Learn more: www.familypromisewaukesha.org
In addition, we have worked with our “alumni” families to ensure that they remain in a stable situation.
Q. WITH THESE CHANGES ARE YOU STILL A FAMILY PROMISE AFFILIATE?
A. Yes! Local affiliates have always been able to adapt their programming to meet the needs of their community. This means that there are affiliates across the country who provide shelter in different ways. Some, like us, use a rotational model, while others have a static model. Some Family Promise affiliates serve single men and women. Many affiliates had already offered homelessness prevention services.
Q. WHAT MAKES A FAMILY PROMISE AFFILIATE AN AFFILIATE?
A. Like many organizations COVID-19 has challenged Family Promise to review our identifying characteristics. Some time ago Family Promise adopted a new logo with a five-pointed star. Each point represents a different characteristic that defines what Family Promise. Those characteristics are:
Q. IS FAMILY PROMISE OF WAUKESHA COUNTY ACCEPTING FAMILIES?
A. Family Promise of Waukesha County, like many shelter programs, suspended our shelter program due to the Covid-19. This is due to the structure of our services. Since faith communities host our families and we utilize volunteers to provide meals, fellowship, and sleep overnight, when they closed it became impossible to provide shelter to families.
Q. HOW DID THIS EFFECT OTHER FAMILY PROMISE AFFILIATES
A. EVERY Family Promise affiliate who offered shelter using a rotational model had to stop offering shelter in that manner and adjust their services.
Q. WHEN WILL YOU PROVIDE YOUR SHELTER PROGRAM AGAIN?
A. It is unlikely the rotational model will commence for the foreseeable future. Most of our host and support congregations are just returning to worship- some have not yet started. The rotational model depends on each congregation taking their week. It is important we give them an opportunity to return to worship and ministry and gauge the pace at which they can accept families. We will review this decision with the volunteer coordinators in September.
Q. ARE THERE OTHER OPTIONS TO PROVIDE SHELTER?
A. We are exploring the possibility of sheltering families in a hotel or apartments. The program we want to develop would begin with an intake process. Once they enter the program, Family Promise would provide a hotel room for a family for 10-14 days. The next step would be to move them to an apartment or duplex. Family Promise would provide this shelter for no more than 90 days. The average length of stay at Family Promise is 45 days.
Q. WHY HAVEN’T YOU BEGUN THIS PROGRAM YET?
A. Money. The reality is the model which we use to shelter families provides high programming for little cost. For every dollar we spend we receive $3 in donations and volunteer time. Covid-19 essentially took away our work force. In other words, we did not budget for a pandemic. Shortly we will begin our mid-year appeal and a significant portion of that fund drive will focus on funding for this new program.
Q. HOW CAN WE HELP?
A. Donate funds! We do not mean to be flippant, but we are being honest and straightforward. For this program to work it needs funding.
Another way to support this program would be to donate the use of an apartment or duplex that you may own. We know this would be a huge gift, but it would provide stability to a family in a desperate situation. Or perhaps there is a congregation that has a parsonage, convent or school that could be used to shelter a family or two in a temporary basis. It would need to be able to provide safety during the time of COVID-19.
Q. BESIDES DONATING MONEY HOW ELSE CAN WE HELP?
A. Once we receive funding and can start sheltering again, then we may need volunteers to:
- cook meals,
- be on call for child-care,
- be on call for transportation,
- provide tutoring
- office assistance
- become a family mentor
As we develop the program there may be other ways to get involved.
Q. WHAT SUPPLIES DO YOU NEED?
A. Our needs list is constantly changing. Please check our website for our needs list and social media for announcements about supply drive collections. We are also grateful that each of our support congregations are collecting supplies the week they were scheduled to host!
Q. WHEN WILL FUNDS FOR HOMELESS PREVENTION BE MADE AVAILABLE
A. Applications are being accepted now. www.familypromisewaukesha.org/prevention
Q. WHAT ARE THE GUIDELINES TO QUALIFY FOR HOMELESS PREVENTION FUNDS?
A. Here is an overview of our guidelines:
- Section 8 income guidelines will be followed
- This fund is for one-time assistance.
- Applicants can’t be more than one month behind in rent/utility.
- Applicants will need to be able to verify income, whether loss or reduction of hours. If the applicant has a current job, the must provide reasons why rent can’t be met this month. Proof of job or job loss will be also be required.
- Applicants will need to provide information on all adults living in the home regarding job/income status.
- Applicants will need to provide all information regarding sources of income for all family members.
- Applicants will need to provide proof of the amount of rent due or a utility bill.
- Applicants must allow a Family Promise representative to talk to employer or current landlord as needed, as well as any other service provider to determine need for assistance.
- Applicants, who are not Family Promise alumni, need to live in Waukesha County
- Payment goes directly to landlord or utility company
- Social Worker will follow up with family to help plan for the following months and to connect to resources.
Q. ANY CONCERNS ABOUT THE PREVENTION PROGRAM?
A. Our biggest concern is making sure that those who need help know that it is available. Please help us spread the word. One never knows who needs help. It is very likely that a neighbor or relative could need assistance but are embarrassed to say so. You can inform your network of friends and relatives by sharing our posts on social media. We invite you to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.