BECOME A HOST CONGREGATION
Host congregations are the key component to Family Promise and our ability to serve families. We are currently working to identify 13 congregations of varying faiths and backgrounds to host up to four families for a week, four times a year. The congregations provide families with a safe place to sleep, breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as spending quality time with the families. A host site or support congregation does not need to be a church or faith based organization. Family Promise of Clark County welcomes the support from all organizations willing to help families experiencing homelessness in Clark County.
What is Needed for a Congregation to Host?
The following are the basics for a congregation to be a Family Promise Host:
- Space for up to four families (no more than 14 individuals) to stay for seven nights, 4 times a year. The space for each family can be private or semi-private and can be classrooms, offices or a large hall with dividers. The space for all guests should remain in place during their week stay to allow the families to call this place their home for the week.
- A common area for meals, homework, relaxation and fellowship. Access to a TV and/or video games is a plus.
- Two bathrooms: one for women and one for men. The day center will provide showers and laundry facilities for the guest families.
- Space for two volunteers to sleepover during the night (any available space at the congregation can be used such as offices, hallways etc.).
- A kitchen or food preparation area to prepare and serve meals for the guest families. Meals may be prepared on site, or cooked elsewhere and brought to the host site.
- The congregation is responsible for all meals (nutritious cooked dinners, simple breakfasts and supplies for sack lunches) bed linens and various basic items such as toys, soap, etc. Family Promise supplies the beds.
- Volunteers: a congregation should have at least two volunteers present and generally not more than four at a time from 5pm in the evening until 6am the next morning on each of the 7 days during the week the congregation is hosting the guest families.
- A lead coordinator to coordinate all of the volunteer and activities during the week.
What if we can’t provide both volunteers and a building to host the guest families?
This is not a problem. A host site can be made up of multiple congregations, each providing the building or volunteers and meals as they are able. For example, a host site may be made up of:
- Congregation “A” who only can provide the building (Host Site Congregation)
- Congregation “B” who only can provide volunteers & meals (Support Congregation)
A TYPICAL HOST WEEK
During the week there are approximately 50 slots for volunteers. Some congregations have a different member for each slot; others have volunteers take on multiple roles. Volunteers are assigned duties by the Coordinator, a member of the host congregation who oversees the week.
- A van/trailer arrives in the afternoon with air beds and the families’ personal belongings from the previous Host Congregation to be set up in designated spaces.
- The guest families are transported by a van from the Day Center to the Host Congregation site for that week.
- Guest families arrive at the Host Congregation on Sunday evening between 5:30 and 6 p.m. The rooms for the families and the common area are usually set up prior to their arrival.
Each night of hosting
- Families settle in, relax and meet the coordinators and the evening volunteers. At 6:00pm dinner is served family style. Guests and volunteers share the meal together. Families are responsible for their children and help with clean up and chores.
- After dinner, volunteers spend time with families. Hosts and their families play games, help with homework, watch videos, or whatever.
- Food for lunch is available in the kitchen area and parents make sack lunches for their family for the following day.
- Adults turn in around 10 p.m.; children at appropriate earlier bedtimes. Wake up is at 6 a.m. Two volunteers will spend the night at the congregation. These volunteers will have beds and are there in case of any emergencies during the night.
- Breakfast is served around 6:15 a.m. during the week; typically cereal and other convenient foods. Family Promise then transports the families to the Day Center by 7am to allow time for the families to shower if needed before school or work. (Times may vary, depending upon each site’s coordinator, van driver and number of families being housed and time of year.)
During the day (Families are not at the congregation)
- From the Day Center, the children go to school and the parents to their jobs. In the evening-(5:00-ish), a van will pick up the families from the Day Center and take them back to the host congregation.
- If the parents do not have a job, they work with the staff to seek employment, housing and other resources to help them regain their independence. The Day Center will have computers and phones to assist families in their self-sufficiency plan. A play/nap room is also planned to be available for the children.
- Everyone returns to the Host Congregation between 5:30 and 6 p.m. for dinner, and the schedule repeats.
- Families can go back to the Day Center or plan another activity on weekends.
- Host Congregations can also choose to keep the families and sometimes offer fun activities for the day.
The next Sunday
- On Sundays, the families pack their belongings and leave the facilities prior to Sunday services. They are transported to the Day Center for the day until it is time to move to the next congregation. Guest families that want to attend services will usually do so at their own congregations; some may choose to worship at a Host Congregation.
Become a Support Congregation
Do you want to get involved in helping homeless families? Do you want to become a host congregation or a support congregation? Maybe want to get involved but are not sure how you can help?