Family Promise to open center in Warner Robins

Sun News correspondentMay 8, 2013 

Starting on Mother’s Day, families in the Warner Robins area without a home will have a place to stay.

An affiliate of Family Promise was started in Warner Robins last year to help meet the needs of homeless in this area. The operation will open to the homeless, who the agency refers to as “guests,” on Mother’s Day. A ribbon cutting for the day center is planned for Wednesday at 213 McArthur Blvd.

Through Family Promise, the homeless are given shelter, meals and any support they might need to get back on their feet. Family Promise is a nationwide endeavor that utilizes space at local churches to house the homeless for breakfast, supper and sleeping. A central facility, called a day center, is used for showering, the noon meal, facilities for non-school age children and job/housing searches.

The commitment from a church lasts only a week at a time; Clients are moved back and forth from the day center to the church via a passenger van. Their belongings are transported by truck to the church. At the end of one week, the clients are then moved to another church, and so on.

Nicole Rosser, the organization’s director, said the center will try to meet the varied needs of each of the families they will be serving.

“We want to work one on one with them for their goals. Immediate goals are housing and employment. But we will also have parenting, life skills, and financial management classes,” said Rosser.

Rosser said that the Houston County Board of Education had identified 200 students as homeless.

“It is not just the person on the corner,” said Rosser. “The highest growing segment for the homeless is not individuals but families. It can happen to anyone. Just because we don’t see them on the street doesn’t mean it is not happening in our community.”

Rosser said that a series of events can put anyone at risk for homelessness.

“Maybe you have medical issues or you lose your job. The electricity gets cut off and then the eviction notice comes. In a matter of weeks, the family situation can totally change.”

Family Promise will be able to house up to 14 people at time, and a family must have children to be eligible. Children will be transported to school from one of the 14 host congregation churches where the families will spend the night. Another 11 churches are involved as support congregations, providing financial support, food and volunteers.

Rosser said that she was extremely excited about the first group of families.

“Through the support of the community, through a volunteer-run program, we are going to help them become self sufficient. We are not just giving them a Band-Aid; this is a long-term life change.”

For more information about Family Promise, whether to volunteer or to apply for the center’s service, contact Rosser at 328-8181.

Contact Alline Kent at 396-2467 or allinekent@cox.net.

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