Family Promise of Southern Chester County

Located in Kennett Square, Family Promise is committed to helping children and their families experiencing homelessness in the Avondale, Kennett Consolidated, Oxford, and Unionville-Chadds Ford school districts.  Learn more about their mission and service impact with the Q&A with.

1. What does your organization do and what is your mission?

Family Promise of Southern Chester County is part of a national affiliate that is working to end family homelessness by providing programs and support for families who are experiencing housing instability. We believe that every family needs a home and we work with local congregations to provide emergency shelter, meals and case management until the family can be rehoused.

2. How did you get started?

A group of community leaders became aware that families were living on the streets of Kennett, West Grove and Oxford and they formed an Advisory Committee to find a solution. They learned that many shelter programs don’t allow families to stay together. Our affiliate began in 2015 and has emergency housing and services for up to 4 families at a time until they could locate and support themselves in new housing.

3. Can you describe your program?

The families go to school and work and then return to Family Promise for dinner and overnight accommodations. When admitted to the program, families must save 90% of their income to save for future housing needs. When not working, they have access to laundry, computers, kitchen and job search and school resources at The Resource Center. After they graduate from the program, we stay in touch and assist as needed to keep them stably housed.

4. How does it differ from other homeless shelter programs offered by Chester County?

We keep families housed together and work with 12 rotating host congregations and hundreds of volunteers to prepare meals, ready overnight beds and help the families during their stay in the program. The families stay for one week at each location and are transported by Family Promise each day to the host site.

5. Is your program successful?

Yes, our case manager keeps in touch with graduates to ensure the budgeting and skills they learned can be maintained after they are living on their own and that they are able to remain stably housed.

6. What is an example of how the program helped a local family?

We recently funded a certificate program for a young mom so that she could increase her hourly earning power as a nursing assistant. By raising her earning power, she is able to cover apartment rent and living expenses for herself and her child.

7. Who is your Executive Director?

Renna Van Oot became our Executive Director in June 2020 and brings extensive community leadership and organization management skills to our growing organization. She can be reached at ed@familypromisescc.org

8. How has your program changed since COVID-19?

We can no longer offer rotational housing for the safety of our guests and volunteers and so our program transitioned to a static site model. Meals are still provided by host congregations but delivered to the site. We partner with restaurants in the area to provide the meals 4 evenings a week, and the congregations provide funding and delivery. We are also fortunate to be the recipient of a 3-year Help Us Move In (HUMI) grant fund from our national affiliate that helps us to provide monthly assistance to help prevent families from eviction and keep them stably housed.

9. Does Family Promise work with other community agencies who are helping families during this difficult time?

We have strong relationships with many referral sources like La Comunidad Hispana, Oxford Neighborhood Community Services, KACS and the County.

10. How can the community help?

You can make financial contributions at www.familypromisescc.com, become a sponsor at an upcoming event, follow us on Facebook or Instagram or call us at (610) 444-0400 if you would like to volunteer in other ways.