5 Questions With Jennifer Raymond Executive Director, Of Family Promise South Palm Beach County

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  1. What is Family Promise? 

For ten years, Family Promise South Palm Beach County has been providing temporary shelter, meals and full-wraparound services to situationally homeless families with dependent children.  We believe that every child deserves a home. Were you aware that there are over 4,400 children attending Palm Beach County schools that are homeless? This doesn’t take into account those living in cars or couch surfing at friends or family. Family homelessness in Palm Beach County represents 21 percent of the homeless population which is a 6 percent increase from 2017 to 2018. There is a critical need to address the issue of family homelessness as it impacts all of us.

Our mission is to empower the families by providing them the right tools and services to become self-sufficient for the long-term. Every week the parents meet with their case manager to set and review goals and achievements. We offer life skills training including positive parenting, healthy meal planning and budgeting among others. All parents are required to work and to create a savings account to be used for their future home.  Additionally, we are unique in that we provide mental health assessments and counseling. I started our CARE program in 2015 to help the children and parents better deal with issues – being homeless is a trauma base experience. We have seen great results from our CARE program and are proud that most of our graduate families return for counseling.

Through generous private funding, we started our transitional housing program. Finding safe and affordable housing in Palm Beach County continues to be a challenge for our families.

  1. Tell us about yourself and your role with Family Promise.

My twenty plus years in the non-profit world has led me down the path of mental health awareness and counseling. As a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, I focus on the trauma of homelessness especially pertaining to children and families. Our counseling and case management services provide the much needed support for the families as they transition into long-term sustainability. In fact, we are developing curriculums and trainings regarding trauma and its effects on children and families. We expect to roll-out this new program to the community within the next few months. Our goal at Family Promise is to expand our services and touch more lives in South Palm Beach County. Believing in the mission of Family Promise: “we believe that every child deserves a home” my role is to make this dream possible for the families we serve.

  1. How long has Family Promise been around?  

Last November, we celebrated our 10th anniversary and each year the goal is to help more homeless families get back on their feet and rebuild their strength to make them whole.  Family Promise South Palm Beach County is an affiliate of Family Promise, a national organization, founded in New Jersey in 1986.

  1. How many families do you estimate you have helped?

We have helped 150 families move from homeless to home – this is nearly 300 children, 175 parents.  Our goal is to continue to graduate 15 to 20 families each year. This year, we provided 2,600 counseling hours as well as over 400 counseling hours in our Outreach program to the homeless.

  1. How can people get involved with Family Promise? 

The absolute best way to get involved is to help with hosting – preparing meals, interacting with the families such as reading or playing with the kids in the evening.  If interested, please call our office 561.265-3370 x 100. We are a small staff, so we are always in need of volunteers to help us out in several ways. And, of course, financial support is always appreciated. Family Promise is privately funded primarily through grants, individual donations and fundraising activities. Family Promise South Palm Beach County is located at 840 George Bush Blvd. For more information, visit www.familypromisespbc.org.