Family Promise of Wake County began in 1994 as Wake Interfaith Hospitality Network (WIHN), a 501(c)(3) providing church-based emergency shelter and meals to Wake County families experiencing temporary homelessness. Since then, we've expanded the services we offer to include life-skills training, case management provided by social workers, a day center and transitional housing.
We remain one of only two emergency shelters in Wake County to allow families to stay together, regardless of the ages and genders of the children and parents, sparing parents the difficult choice between keeping their families together and finding a safe place for their children to sleep. We are the only homelessness nonprofit to offer a continuum of services and partnerships to move families all the way from homelessness to safe, affordable, permanent housing.
Each year, more than 50 Wake County congregations reflecting a broad range of religious identities offer their buildings and volunteer power to host up to 10 families each week through our Emergency Shelter program. Every week, two host congregations (with the help of their supporting partner congregations) provide up to five families each a safe place to sleep, meals, transportation and a sense of community. Annually, the Emergency Shelter program engages more than 2,000 volunteers.
70 percent of our families successfully graduate from our Emergency Shelter program, due in large part to the dedicated support of our congregations and the case management provided by our professional staff of social workers during families' time in the program.
During the day, families in our Emergency Shelter program have access to the Family Promise Day Center located on Method Road in Raleigh. After being dropped off in the morning by volunteers from that week's host churches, families have access to case management services, showers, and computers and phones to conduct job searches. Other services available through the Day Center include:
- laundry facilities,
- transportation to and from school,
- a mailing address for use in housing and employment searches,
- a private office for meeting with service providers,
- lockers for safekeeping of personal belongings,
- access to baby, hygiene and cleaning supplies,
- a playroom,
- a TV room and
- a large living room and kitchen.
Studies have shown that ongoing services, such as our Aftercare program, are critical to helping families succeed in maintaining stable housing. Upon successful completion of our Emergency Shelter program, families are offered ongoing case management services, including:
- life skills classes,
- budget and credit counseling and
- support for employment searches.
In February 2011, Family Promise began operating 12 units of transitional housing in an apartment building next to the Day Center. Families that have successfully completed our Emergency Shelter program have the opportunity to live in one of our three bedroom, three bath transitional housing units for up to 12 months. This program enables guest families to have a much higher chance of remaining independent through intensive wrap-around services and stable housing.
During their stay in Transitional Housing, families continue to receive support services, including:
- continued case management,
- life skills classes,
- staff-facilitated support groups and
- referral services.
82 percent of families in our Transitional Housing program successfully move on to safe, stable housing.
NEW LEASE ON LIFE
In 2014, Family Promise of Wake County formed a pioneering partnership with The Triangle Apartment Association to extend our continuum of services with the New Lease on Life program. New Lease on Life provides families that have completed the transitional housing program with high-quality apartment housing at a reduced and affordable rate for a period of one or two years. Families participating in New Lease on Life continue to work with their case managers to give them the best possible chance at success as they learn the skills necessary to obtain and maintain permanent housing.
BECOMING FAMILY PROMISE
While the mission of transforming the lives of families experiencing temporary homelessness has remained the same throughout the years, the changing nature of how we accomplish that mission led our organization to change its name to Family Promise of Wake County on July 1, 2016. Our current name better reflects the entire continuum of services we offer as we help families find support services and, ultimately, locate safe, affordable, permanent housing in our community.