Family Promise of Ogden, along with faith communities and volunteers, are giving hope and opportunities to families experiencing homelessness. This year in America, more than 2.5 million children and their parents will experience homelessness, due to layoffs, illness, break-ups and other unexpected problems. Family Promise of Ogden is part of a national program that provides a safe home-like alternate as families regain their ability to be self-sufficient.
Family Promise of Ogden was founded in 2016 by Nancy Davis Broderick. After volunteering at a local homeless shelter, she saw a need for a program that kept families together while they searched for jobs and housing. She saw what Family Promise offered and knew it was just what Weber County needed. She loved that the national program not only kept families together, but provided human needs, shelter, safety and sustenance while collaborating with local churches and volunteers.
How does the program work?
Our director and case manager coordinate with volunteers and local social services to provide daily support for the families staying with Family Promise of Ogden. They coordinate existing resources to solve problems related to housing, employment, education, transportation, day care, etc. The ultimate goal is self-sufficiency as quickly as possible.
Local congregations provide lodging, meals, mentoring, compassion and caring hospitality in local churches and other buildings equipped to provide overnight stays. Our faith community of volunteers offer opportunities to struggling families with children through one-on-one interaction on a daily basis. Hundreds of volunteers are the heart of Family Promise.
Guests use the local day center from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The center offers computers with internet, showers, laundry facilities, budgeting and other classes, job and housing search assistance and a play room, just to name a few.
Why is Family Promise needed in Weber County?
Families are the fastest growing segment of the homeless population, representing approximately 40% off all homeless people. The root cause of homelessness is the widening gap between income and the cost of housing. In Utah, 21% of renters are considered extremely low-income. According to the Affordable Housing Assessment and Plan released in 2016, Utah is short 47,180 units for low-income renters.
Is it making a difference?
We have seen first hand the success that Family Promise of Ogden has in the community. In 2017, we served 21 families for a total of 89 individuals. Twenty-three of those were children ages five and under. Nearly 75% of families secure housing within nine weeks of entering the program.
Krystle, a former guest of Family Promise of Ogden, said this about the program, “You’re at that place where you can’t go anywhere else. You hit rock bottom and it’s almost like you’re in this dark place and someone reaches out a hand. Everybody was just there… and then there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. There’s no other feeling like that in the world.”
Katy Ann, also a former guest, had this to say, “I got sick with my youngest and lost my home. After I got out of the hospital we went straight into a hotel. When money ran out we had to buy candy from Walmart every day and sell it, just to make $60 for a hotel room. It was really, really hard not having a place for kids to come home to when they got out of school. I don’t know where I would be right now without Family Promise.”