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Family Promise of Orange County to Open in January 2012

By Catherine Cahill

     There are approximately 35,000 homeless family members in Orange County today, including 27,000 homeless children.  Families account for 65% of Orange County’s homeless population.  For parents, homelessness often means a loss of pride and hope.  For children, homelessness may mean insecurity and insufficient food.  For fathers and older boys, homelessness may mean separation from their families as many shelters can only accommodate either older males or mothers with young children.  Family Promise of Orange County plans to change the lives of these families by opening its doors in January, 2012.   

     Family Promise of Orange County is a non-profit, interfaith organization whose volunteers open their houses of worship to provide emergency shelter, meals and support to homeless families. It is one of 165 Family Promise programs throughout the country.  The national organization has affiliates in 41 states.  Since its founding more than twenty years ago, more than 125,000 volunteers have assisted more than 350,000 guests.  On average, families in the program return to self-sufficiency within 2 months. 

     Family Promise of Orange County provides a Day Center, employment assistance, counseling and other services for families in the emergency shelter program at its Family Center in Orange. School-aged children attend their local school, which limits the negative trailing impact of homelessness. 

     Families are transported each evening to a faith community, where they have dinner, visit with volunteers and spend the night. Students will also receive help with homework from volunteers from the host congregations.  Each faith community hosts families for a week at a time. Volunteers form relationships with the families and provide compassionate support, one of the hallmarks of the program. 

     Starting in January 2012, Family Promise of Orange County will welcome homeless families to take advantage of this unique program that could change their lives forever.  Renovation of our  Day Center is nearly complete, with 19 host and support congregations ready to serve our community.

     The Irvine United Congregational Church is one of the congregations that are dedicated to supporting Family Promise of Orange County.  The congregation and leadership rose to the occasion with characteristically enthusiastic volunteer support and financial contributions. IUCC member Susan Allen has also accepted an invitation to join the Family Promise of Orange County Board of Trustees.  Please join IUCC members and leadership in making a difference in the lives of families.  Visit www.familypromiseorangecounty.org to sign up for our newsletter, make a donation, or become a volunteer.  With your support, we can support families on their journey to self sufficiency.

Day Center Renovation Well Underway – January Opening Planned.

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