The Family Promise of Delaware County currently has a full house at 39 N. Washington St., with 20 people — 11 adults and nine children — staying in six rooms.
Being at capacity is typical for the non-profit organization, which houses homeless families.
“We want to make sure there’s a clear message that we are open for any homeless families with children, or families that may not have children but the female is pregnant,” said executive director Benjamin A. Powers. “We do our very best to eliminate any barriers for them to gain entrance.”
Since August 2009, Family Promise has served 287 families, representing more than 500 children and 900 people. Given that a family’s average stay is 28 days, it is possible that the milestone of serving a 300th family could be reached this year.
“We get daily calls for service” to house families, Powers said. “We’re the only emergency shelter for this region — Delaware, Morrow and Union counties. There’s not a lot of resources in that area for people.”
Family Promise offers shelter and supportive services to families for up to 90 days. It has a 60 percent success rate of finding permanent housing, which Powers said is double the federal minimum requirements.
“There’s other numbers that don’t get included in that,” he said of the percentages. “That wouldn’t mean it wasn’t a successful stay. To me, if we provide any night of shelter to anyone off the street or out of a situation that’s not conducive for living, it’s a success.”
Powers, an ordained minister who came on board earlier this year, said Family Promise is well-known to other local agencies, but not as well-known to the general public. He’s hoping to change that with a more active Facebook page that celebrates the donations Family Promise receives.
Donations of all kinds come in at all times, including a portable crib for one of the residents on a sunny spring afternoon. Powers said that among the donations that are always welcome are laundry detergent, dryer sheets, paper towels, household cleaners, trash bags, diapers, wipes, toilet paper and personal hygiene items.
There are up to 250 volunteers, many from 18 local church congregations. However, Family Promise still needs volunteers when no churches are signed up to help out.
The nonprofit Family Promise has an annual “Italian Dinner” fundraiser and silent auction. This year’s event is from 5 to 8 p.m. April 5 at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, 82 E. William St. Admission $10, or $5 for children 12 and under.
“Our community is great,” Powers said. “We provide so many services for people, but there’s still a lot we can accomplish. The biggest hurdle for families is finding permanent housing.”
According to the Columbus Community Shelter Board, the number of homeless families has increased 79 percent since 2011.
For more information, visit www.familypromise-delawareohio.org or call 740-362-7817.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.