FAMILY PROMISE OF SPOKANE is a program for housing homeless families with children. A network of 12 or more host churches, each with a support church, houses up to 15 homeless people once every three months. The host church serves meals and provides bedrooms for the families during that week. The Family Promise Day Center offers case management support to the parents while the children are in school or daycare.
Spokane Friends Church participated as a host church for fourteen years, arranging for two dinner hosts who cook and serve the evening meal and two overnight hosts for each night of the week. In September of 2017, we stopped being a host church due to our difficulties in finding people to serve as dinner and overnight hosts. However, we have offered our facilities to a new host church that does not have adequate space for the families. In this way we continue to support the program.
Interfaith Hospitality Network of Spokane began as a labor of commitment and vision. A few dedicated people saw the dire need to provide emergency shelter service to homeless children and their families. Instilling a desire in more people about meeting this need they became a dynamic group organized to serve the community. Using the Interfaith, now Family Promise, model, they contacted local churches to develop a network of host and support churches. Finally, after many hours of hard work and prayer, the program opened on March 16, 1997.
Initially located in three rooms of the First Covenant Church serving as the Day Center, the families began the schedule of evening shelter and meals in host churches, returning to the Day Center for case management support. Over 100 families participated in the program before the need for a larger Day Center facility spurred the move into a house in the Gonzaga University neighborhood on Indiana St.
While at the Indiana St. location, the program identified the need for post shelter services. An Aftercare program was designed and implemented in July 2002. Relying on the skills of a dynamic coordinator as well as the resources of the community, many of the past guests enhanced their skills to improve their ability to sustain their independence.
In 2005, as a result of the need to locate a new Day Center facility, the opportunity arose to move into our current location. Our new building has a number of potential options that will benefit the families in the Network, at least once all the modifications and renovations to this building are completed. Because the building is capable of expansion, we may also have the opportunity to provide two transitional housing units for families. While this is a plan for the future, we hope to implement it within the next two years.
Spokane Meeting’s Part in all of this:
We are a host church for IHN meaning that we do house the families that are in the network in our Meetinghouse. They arrive on a Sunday evening and leave the following Sunday morning. During the week they are in our building from 5pm till 7am the next morning. We are responsible to fix them dinner and be their hosts overnight. During the day the families go to the day center or school, jobs, etc. There are 12 churches in the Spokane area that are host churches with several others as support churches. Each church hosts 4 times a year.