Sign up to receive a copy of our monthly e-newsletter, Building Hope!
Meeting the Moment
April 8, 2020
The impact of the current pandemic is all around us. We feel it in our gut, we hear it on the news, we see it in our community. The overarching theme of this moment seems to be an apprehension about what is yet to come in these unprecedented times. There is seldom respite from the desire for things to return to normal. But, through it all we can find solace in knowing that we are all in this together.
Over the past few weeks, we at FPH have been so fortunate to witness the widespread kindness, generosity and commitment being extended from one person to another. The call for each of us to step up to support the most vulnerable in our community has been presented, and time and time again the community has shown up, fully committed, meeting this moment head on.
In early March we had to make the tough decision to suspend our traditional rotational shelter program. From that moment until now, we have creatively developed new approaches to shelter and have increased our capacity to support families in our community who are experiencing a housing crisis.
We are warmed by the ways that our community partners, donors, staff, government and volunteers have extended resources, energy, information, man-power and their voices to care for one another. We’ve been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support we have received as illustrated in the following message:
If you need more volunteers, count me in. I believe we can do this. I believe Family Promise is an outstanding program in supporting homeless families in Hawaii. Our supporting Family Promise is a form of selfless giving and we should continue supporting it.
Unfortunately, the need for FPH’s services are increasing. In fact, we are experiencing a 400% spike in requests for help. So we continue to need the support of our collective community in the days, weeks and months ahead.
New Year, New Project: Permanent Supportive Housing
January 31, 2020
Since our founding in 2006, we have been rooted in our commitment to help families with children transition from homelessness to permanent housing. Our innovative approach to shelter has been successful at helping over 80% of families served transition to permanent housing.
What about the other 20%?
What about the families who we’ve had to turn away from our shelter program because it wasn’t the right fit for their unique, complex needs?
That’s where Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) comes in! Through a partnership with U.S. VETS, we are launching a new initiative aimed at housing chronically homeless families. It pairs subsidized housing with long-term case management and tailored supportive services, therefore serving as a proven solution to long-term homelessness for the most vulnerable families. Across the nation, PSH projects have been successful in facilitating housing stability for many families who as a result have experienced positive outcomes such as strengthened familial bonds. In the year ahead, we will be supporting fourteen families through the new initiative.
November 11, 2019
Rachel came to Family Promise of Hawaii (FPH) through our Wahiawa site in late September. Rachel had been living with her three children at her sister’s house for the last couple of years while she was dealing with serious medical complications from Parkinson’s disease. Rachel needed new housing by November because her sister had made plans to move to the mainland. We enrolled Rachel into our Prevention program and helped her budget and save money through financial literacy education. Rachel underwent several major brain surgeries while in the program. Our housing quest for Rachel became one of our highest priorities and with the aid of the Emergency Solution Grant (ESG), we were able to house Rachel and her children. Rachel is now enrolled in the FPH After Care program where we will help her family maintain permanent housing.
“Thank you for helping my children and I, the whole process was very helpful (including the challenges along the way). I would refer this program to someone who is genuinely seeking to provide shelter for their family and trying to get back on track.” – Rachel
Family Promise of Central Oahu is Open!
August 27, 2019
We are excited to announce the soft opening of our new Central Oahu location. The Wahiawa Family Center is open and providing services for families experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness via our Prevention and Diversion programs. The new Family Center is located at Wahiawa Christian Church. We hope to open an Emergency Shelter program by early next year and are currently recruiting congregations in the Wahiawa, Mililani, Waipio, Waipahu, Aiea, and Pearl City areas to support our expansion. We are also accepting donations of furniture, food and supplies. To learn more about our new location, email our Wahiawa Site Manager!
We are thankful to Pastor Trent Lockhart & Wahiawa Christian Church for their partnership.
We are hosting an Open House & Dinner on September 18th at 6pm for all congregations and community members in the Central Oahu area who are interested in supporting our mission. Come and learn more about Family Promise and the opportunity to make a direct impact on the lives of families and children struggling with homelessness. RSVP required by emailing [email protected].
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!