The History of Family Promise of Beaufort County, Inc.
Family Promise of Beaufort County, one of over 200 affiliates, opened its doors in July 2008 and remains the only Shelter Program in the county that serves homeless children and their families. We were founded on the belief that one homeless child is too many. Currently, there are over 645 homeless children in our county (as determined by the McKinney-Vento Act roster for the Beaufort County School District.) Additionally, over 50% of the children attending public schools in our county participate in the free/reduced cost lunch program.
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 have experienced 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 870 children and their parents and we have continued to increase the number of families who successfully graduate from our Shelter Program each year. Over 90% 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 14 local host congregations, where volunteers from 18 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. The lifelong changes we are seeking to bring about impact generations to come so these children and those to follow don’t have to live the same life of poverty their parents have.