Lancaster United Methodist Church serves as one of 10 host churches for Family Promise of Grant County. Family Promise of Grant County, Wisconsin, is part of a national program that responds to the growing need to provide shelter, meals and comprehensive support services to families without homes.
The program unites the congregations from area churches and other community members to assist the homeless families. The goal is to help homeless and low-income families achieve sustainable independence through a community based response, working with volunteers and currently, more than 16 faith communities throughout the county.
Family Promise of Grant County
333 West Cherry Street
Lancaster, WI 53813
How Many People are Homeless?
Nationally, estimates show that 2–3 million people a year experience 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.
In Grant County, for the 2014-2015 school year, 59 youth were identified as homeless in Platteville, Boscobel and Lancaster combined. This number is taken from just three communities within the county, so the number of homeless children countywide is likely much higher.
What Can We Do to Help?
Many people in our congregations and communities want to respond to the needs of our homeless neighbors, but it can be an overwhelming task. What do we do? How do we become part of the solution? Family Promise of Grant County is part of a national program that responds to the growing need to provide shelter, meals and comprehensive support services to families without homes.
There are Five Basic Elements of the Program
1. Host (and Support) Congregations
Host congregations throughout Grant County provide overnight lodging, breakfast, brown bag lunch, dinner, and hospitality for homeless families during a given week. Support congregations and organizations will provide hosts with assistance, as needed. (13 host congregations would be ideal for Grant County, we currently have 10).
Volunteers are the heart of Family Promise; without them, it cannot exist. Volunteers provide a variety of services: cooking and serving meals, playing with children, helping with homework, and staying overnight. Beyond providing lodging and meals, volunteers interact with the guests, treating them with respect and responding with compassion.
3. Social Service Agencies
Our Network Director is Hannah Campbell-Gustafson. She is a recent graduate of the University of Chicago where she attained dual graduate degrees, masters of divinity (MDiv) and masters of social work (MSW). She was hired to work with local social service agencies that refer families to Family Promise. The director and agencies help guests find housing, jobs, and other much-needed support services. Hannah and social services vets the volunteers and the families to be sure everyone is safe.
4. Day Center
Guests use a local Day Center from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. to shower, care for preschool children, and to seek employment. Many guests are employed during the day and go to work. During the school year, children go to school. The Day Center provides guests with a mailing address and a home base from which to conduct their housing search. The director’s office is also at the Day Center.
Family Promise of Grant County owns a van that transports guests to and from the Day Center. A trailer carries bedding and luggage from one host congregation to the next.
If you or a loved one are looking for shelter and support, please contact Hannah Campbell Gustafson, APSW, MSW, MDiv, Program Director, (608) 723-3355.
Read more about the national Family Promise organization.