The History of Family Promise of Beaufort County, Inc.
Family Promise of Beaufort County, one of 206 affiliates in 43 states, opened its doors in 2008 and still remains the only sheltering program in the county that serves homeless families with children. We were founded on the belief that one homeless child is too many, yet, as determined by the McKinney-Vento Act roster for the Beaufort County School District, there are over 550 homeless children in our county. Additionally, 61% of the children attending public schools in our county participate in the free/reduced cost lunch program. This is a 3.26% increase over the prior year. Family Promise serves 4 families or 14 individuals at a time. We do not provide a handout or a temporary fix, but work to determine the underlying cause of their homelessness and then equip them with the skills and resources needed to maintain lasting independence. Many are the result of generational poverty and cyclical homelessness. Our goal is to help them break the cycle by providing comprehensive case management and assistance in securing employment, medical care, childcare, school placement, and ultimately affordable housing. Our Day Center, located in downtown Bluffton, is the hub of operations and a place for our families to do their laundry, complete employment and housing searches in our computer center, complete goal sheets, attend life skills programs, and meet with our Case Manager. Since inception we have assisted over 100 families, including more than 200 children and we have continued to increase the number of families who successfully graduate from our sheltering program each year. 92% of these families are still in permanent housing after one year. Once a family exits and moves into their home, they participate in our 12 month Staying on Track program which entails continued case management support to assure they are utilizing the tools they acquired while in shelter.
We partner with local congregations, individuals, families, other social service agencies, foundations, and businesses to provide temporary shelter and viable solutions for these families who are experiencing a housing crisis. While our program is non-denominational, families sleep in a network of 13 local host congregations, where volunteers from 22 additional local congregations provide their evening meals and overnight companionship.
Family Promise is cost effective because we utilize existing resources and provide $3 in goods and services for every $1 we receive. In fact, we were awarded the Angel award by the State of South Carolina for efficient use of funding. Our model is an effective and replicable community response to family homelessness. These lifelong changes that we are seeking to bring about effect generations to come so that these children and those to follow don’t have to live the same life of poverty that their parents have.