Family Promise of Ouachita: Ministry to homeless families. Lea Joyner UMC has joined with many other churches in our community in working with Family Promise in reaching out to families that are temporarily homeless. In order to qualify for the program, it must be a family. They are screened for alcohol or drug abuse, and also go through a criminal background check. Our church will work with other churches that are housing the families. The program is fully insured and is being conducted in dozens of cities and towns across our country. This is a wonderful way for our church to reach out to homeless families in our community, with the goal of helping them find permanent housing.
What is Homelessness?
Being without a safe, warm place to sleep, eat, and care for children, living without the security of familiar people and belongings---that is homelessness. The loss of one's home, the most basic element of stability, is a profound crisis for anyone, but especially for families. parents endure the heartache of being unable to provide a secure environment for their children. And children, who now make up 25 percent of our nation's homeless populations, are deprived of a fundamental requirement for healthy development--a safe, permanent home.
How many people are homeless?
Statistics vary depending on the source, but estimates are that 2 - 3 million people a year expenience homelessness. The sad truth is that families with young children are the fastest growing segment of the homeless population...they now account for 40 percent of all those who are homeless.
What about the numbers in Ouachita Parish....
Louisiana has the largest number of homeless children per capita. Statistics show in the Ouachita Parish school system there are currently 758 children that are homeless with another 626 children in the Monroe city School System.
How does Family Promise of Ouachita work....
Host congregations provide overnight lodging and meals for up to 14 individuals (usually 3 to 4 families), for one week every 2 to 3 months on a rotating schedule. The homeless families stay at the host church during the evening and overnight. Each morning, they are transported to a day center, where they prepare for their daily activities. These activities may include caring for young children, looking for jobs or training, or going to school or work.