The roots of Family Promise Metrowest were planted in 2003 when members of the Wellesley Village Church and Christ Lutheran Church of Natick noticed an alarming rise in family homelessness in our region and realized that their congregations could play a role in addressing this crisis. While researching ways to help, they learned about Family Promise, a unique shelter model in which congregations of all faiths open their doors to provide overnight accommodations to families in need. After five tireless years of groundwork, the vision of a Family Promise affiliate in Metrowest Boston came to fruition with the welcoming of our first family into shelter in October 2008.
FPM is now one of over 200 affiliates of Family Promise National located in 43 states across the country. Our approach to addressing family homelessness and housing instability is simple: We believe motivated, hard-working families can move out of poverty and into stable homes if they are given encouragement, guidance, and the resources to reach their goals. We know if we all take a role in addressing this issue as a community, we can change lives permanently.
Prior to the onset of COVID, overnight housing was provided by 19 congregations that converted their classrooms into bedrooms 3-4 weeks per year for our families. Families rotated between congregations on a weekly basis, while volunteers from an additional 31 congregations and the community at large provided meals, overnight staffing, and supportive companionship. This rotational model surrounded our families with a community dedicated to their success.
When the COVID-19 health crisis took hold in March 2020, our families in shelter needed a place to be socially distant from staff, volunteers, and other families, and to quarantine if necessary. At the same time, every congregation in our shelter network closed their facilities to the public. To address these challenges, we moved the families into a local hotel. Although it was an effective short-term solution to keep the families healthy and safe, we quickly realized we needed to begin planning for a permanent solution. After an extensive strategic review of options, we decided to close our congregation-based shelter model and instead renovate a portion of our headquarters in Natick, MA into a permanent shelter site. After several months of construction, our new shelter site opened in June 2022 with the welcoming of three families with their four children into our beautiful new home.
Family Promise is much more than an overnight shelter, however. During the day, our professional staff work with families to provide intensive coaching, helping them access community resources, secure stable employment and childcare, create a sustainable budget, and set long-term goals to address the root causes of their homelessness. In addition to shelter , we also offer the SAIL program, launched in 2013, which supports families for one year as they transition from shelter back into apartments, and the Steps to Success program, launched in 2015, which provides educational and career-building opportunities. In 2017, we launched our LIFE homelessness prevention and shelter diversion program, which helps families avoid eviction and shelter entry by providing subsidies for rent in arrears or security deposits, advocacy with landlords, and one year of family coaching and educational workshops. For more information about the programs we offer, please visit Our Programs.
When our hard-working families and passionate community of volunteers, staff, and donors come together, incredible change happens. Our families dare to imagine a new future, and then bring their dreams to life.