How Our Unique Shelter Works
June 28, 2019
Family Promise of Hawaii’s innovative shelter model connects families in need of shelter with existing community resources. We partner with congregations of all faiths who offer a temporary place for families to call home. Congregational partners provide a safe sleeping space and meals for the families enrolled in our shelter program for one week at at time. During the day, families work alongside our staff and are connected to resources to help them move into housing of their own as quickly as possible. Our model gives volunteers the opportunity to make a direct impact on the lives of families experiencing homelessness.
How does the model work? Families wake up at the congregation host site and leave for the day around 7am. Parents and children then go to work and school or to our Family Day Center. Around 5pm our van driver picks up the families from our Day Center and drives them to the congregation host site where they are greeted by volunteers who provide them with a meal and overnight accommodations. Families rotate to a different congregation host site weekly. On average, families stay in the shelter program for about 70 days before they are able to move into housing.
The Family Promise model originated in 1986 in New Jersey. In 2006, the model was brought to Oahu. We currently operate shelter programming in Windward Oahu and Honolulu. We are recruiting congregations in the Central Oahu area so we can begin operating a third shelter program on Oahu later this year! If you know of any congregations who would be interested in learning more about how they can help, please contact [email protected].
42% Reduction in Family Homelessness
May 24, 2019
The recently published report on the annual homeless census, the Point in Time Count, revealed significant progress: a 42% decline in family homelessness on Oahu since 2015. The Point in Time Count is a survey of those experiencing homelessness in our community on one night. Of the 1,357 parents and children on Oahu who were experiencing homelessness during the survey, 79% were staying in a shelter and 21% were identified as sleeping in places not meant for human habitation. Despite a rise in homelessness among single individuals, there’s been a consistent reduction in family homelessness over the past few years. How? Some of the most effective best practices include homeless prevention and diversion efforts, focusing services in shelter on helping families quickly access permanent housing options, targeted financial assistance to help families move into housing, and continued case management to help ensure families remain housed. These services provide a holistic solution that involves prevention, crisis support, and stabilization.
While a reduction in family homelessness is a huge step in the right direction, there are still keiki living on the streets, in parks, and in cars. Family Promise of Hawaii still has a waitlist of homeless families in need of services. With 49% of Hawaii’s households struggling to afford a basic cost of living budget, we can be certain that more families will fall into crisis. We will continue to help families secure or maintain their housing as quickly as possible, but we need the community’s support.
How Can You Help?
Housing is the answer, but we face a severe shortage of affordable housing in our community. Only with access to more housing units can we move families into housing quicker, so that each child’s experience with homelessness is as brief as possible. Continued funding is also critical to maintain the programs that are working: housing-focused shelter, homeless prevention and diversion programs, rental assistance and on-going case management. With your support, we can sustain these efforts, and together we can end family homelessness in our community.
Homeless No More Challenge: How Prevention Saves
April 5, 2019
In late 2018, we at Family Promise of Hawaii teamed up with Help Us Move In and American Savings Bank to create the Homeless No More Challenge. The main goal of the challenge is to raise funds for a crucial step on the path to end homelessness: Housing. Homeless No More Challenge funds are used to either help families move into a home of their own or to keep families housed through prevention. Prevention is the rapid response first step to stabilize housing for those who are on the brink of becoming homeless. Prevention funds go directly towards helping families with temporary financial assistance, to keep them in their existing housing and prevent their need for emergency shelter.
There are many benefits to prevention, but the most obvious benefit is its lower, more efficient cost. The graphic to the left provides several statistics that demonstrate its high cost efficiency. Though prevention funds and services aren’t as well known as emergency shelter programs, they keep people in our community from becoming homeless, decreasing the need for shelter and provide a lower cost way to help end homelessness. Although Family Promise of Hawaii’s emergency shelter program already operates at about 1/3 of the cost of traditional shelters, prevention still costs significantly less than that. In fact, the average cost of stabilizing housing for one family, keeping them from becoming homeless, is only $700. That’s 95% less than the average cost of $16,829 for one family’s stay in a traditional emergency shelter. Despite Family Promise of Hawaii’s lower shelter costs, prevention is still 88% less expensive than our average of $6,154 for the same family’s stay in our emergency shelter program.
Studies show that preventing homelessness costs much less than providing families with emergency shelter. So why isn’t it more common? Awareness is key. Many families don’t even know that there are options out there to help them stabilize their housing before they lose their home, so they don’t know to request them. Similarly, volunteers and donors within our community aren’t aware that prevention solutions exist, or that they can be used to save even more families from homelessness at a significantly lower cost.
This year, as we expand our services and work to provide a wider range of solutions to end homelessness, Family Promise of Hawaii is focusing on prevention more than ever before. In fact, we’re already on the right track. In 2018, our Prevention & Diversion program helped 31 families, including 24 children, avoid homelessness by stabilizing their housing situations.
Through the Homeless No More Challenge, we are lucky enough to receive pledges from two of our community partners to match all funds raised specifically for this program. Help Us Move In and American Savings Bank have each pledged to match all Homeless No More Challenge donations, dollar for dollar, up to $10,000 each. To learn more about the Homeless No More Challenge and track our progress, visit: https://familypromisehawaii.org/getinvolved/homelessnomore/
What We’re Made Of
March 18, 2019
There are so many exciting things happening now at Family Promise of Hawaii! With the upcoming opening of our Central Oahu site, which will ensure expanded outreach to serve the majority of the island, and a few more things coming up soon, there’s a lot to focus on this spring.
As we prepare for upcoming events and even more growth as a human services organization, we’ve also taken some time to reflect on the values, culture and mission of Family Promise of Hawaii. Our number one goal is always our mission, but we believe that the path to get there is just as important as the goal itself. We all agree that nothing is more important to us than the people of our communities. So, we want to make sure that we stay in tune with all those we serve and work alongside, while also shining a light on the core principles of Family Promise of Hawaii.
So what does this mean for you? And what does it mean for the families we serve? More positive experiences and growth in under-served communities. To give you an idea of what we’re striving for, here are some of the words our staff use to describe the culture that guides Family Promise of Hawaii:
Mission-Driven * Ethical * Growth-Minded * Innovative * Flexible * Collaborative * Problem-Solving
In an environment where solutions for homelessness are complex and often feel insurmountable, together with the community, we’re re-focusing on our values, creating new solutions and continuing to build on our successes. As we expand the reach of our services, we will always maintain focus on our community-based culture and ideals. We hope you’ll join us!
Mahalo for making 2018 our best year yet!
January 30, 2019
Your donations and support made 2018 a landmark year of growth for Family Promise of Hawaii! Thanks to you, more than 380 parents and children experiencing homelessness were provided with a safe place to sleep at night, meals, support services, and help securing long-term housing.
Here are just a few things your donations made possible in 2018:
- 61 families were able to escape homelessness and move into permanent housing of their very own.
- After securing housing with the help of Family Promise, 98% of families enrolled in the After Care program maintained their own permanent housing long-term!
- Through the Emergency Shelter program, 172 people (including 85 children) were provided with overnight shelter, meals and other daily necessities.
- The new Diversion program, launched in 2018, provided housing support and case management for more than 200 people who were on the brink of becoming homeless. With that help, 31 families were able to secure permanent housing, keeping them from needing emergency shelter.
We’re so proud that our community helped provide housing for so many families in need last year. Let’s keep it up in 2019! Mahalo nui loa!