Karen Olson, National Founder and President Emeritus of Family Promise and Sherry Arey, Executive Director, Family Promise of Shenandoah County
During the summer of 2013, a homeless encampment near Narrow Passage drew the attention of concerned citizens. A group of community pastors started talking informally about hosting the homeless in churches. Pastor Mark Bowyer suggested the Family Promise model for assisting homeless families with children – he had been involved with an affiliate in Lima, Ohio, prior to moving to Shenandoah County.
We are the 200th local affiliate of Family Promise, a national organization that started in 1986 with a vision of ending family homelessness. The name refers to the promise, in the sense of commitment, which communities make to families in need. But it also refers to the promise, the potential, inherent in every family. We serve families with children under the age of 18 who are experiencing homelessness and low-income families achieve sustainable independence through a community-based response.
Our affiliate opened its doors in January 2016. We began as a network of churches providing overnight lodging, meals and hospitality. Volunteers have always been the heart of Family Promise.
Due to the COVID pandemic, shelter in the churches is on hold. However, we are meeting the communities needs in many other ways. See the What We Do page.