After several years of planning, and an outpouring of generous support from Laurens County churches, organizations and individual contributors, the Family Promise of Laurens County is making progress toward an official launch in early 2020.
“We want to thank everyone who’s believed in this project thus far for their generosity and support,” said Steve Hobbs, chair of the Family Promise of Laurens County board of directors. “Over the last several months, we have been working hard to complete the Day Center and to hire a director.”
Hobbs said that the Day Center, which will be located at 205 Church St., in Laurens, is now approximately 90 percent complete. A search for a director is also well underway.
Family Promise, part of a national non-profit organization, is a program for homeless children and their families. The program's goal is to stabilize families by repairing credit, helping to develop savings, finding employment and ultimately finding an affordable place to live.
Last year, nationally, the program served more than 126,000 individuals, with an 88 percent success rate.
"Homelessness has many different faces," said Hobbs. "We don't always recognize it in our communities because we have a preconceived idea of what it looks like."
To Family Promise, it can be a mother and child; a father and child; mother, father and child; and even aunt or grandparent and child.
According to the most recent census, there were 2,000 homeless people in Laurens County. Approximately 37 percent, or 740, of them were families.
Sixty percent, or 440, of them were children. Fifty percent, or 220, of the homeless children were in the school systems. This is an extremely at-risk, and woefully underserved, segment of the population, people who often live among us in quiet desperation. There are currently no beds or services available in Laurens County to serve this critical need.
The Family Promise provides a proven model to address the needs of this population and to improve the lives of thousands of individuals in Laurens County.
There are currently 200 Family Promise affiliates, in 43 states across the United States, and 39 more in developing stages.
In South Carolina, there are six operating affiliates, with locations in Anderson, Columbia, Greenville, Pickens County, Spartanburg, and York County.
"These programs are built on community support," said Hobbs. "At present, we have 13 church congregations signed on to support the initiative."
In addition to the support of local churches, the Family Promise invites individuals, local non-profit organizations and businesses to learn more.
There are a variety of ways to contribute, including participation in Family Promise events and gifts in kind.
A common way to contribute is to become a part of the 270 club. With just a $270 per year, a donor can help ensure that this project has the recurring support it needs to thrive and make a lasting impact on the lives of people in the community.
To find out more about the program, or about how to help, visit the Family Promise on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pg/fplaurenscounty.