Family Promise to host clergy breakfast

Family Promise of Gwinnett County is holding a clergy breakfast Thursday, Oct. 31 in Lawrenceville to recruit new churches to its faith-based coalition to battle homelessness in the area.

Chuck Ferraro, the Network Director of Family Promise of Gwinnett County, said the nine-year-old coalition of 37 churches is seeking new members at its breakfast, which will be held from 8 to 9:30 a.m. at the Peachtree Café at 50 S. Clayton St. beside City Hall. Ferraro said new church partners are being sought to meet the rising challenge of displaced families in Gwinnett County. He said 25 families have been aided since July.

“We get 100 plus calls each week because of evictions and foreclosures,” Ferraro said. “We lead Atlanta in that regard.”

Ferraro said Family Promise is part of an umbrella organization that works with 40 to 50 other nonprofit groups such as the United Way and Salvation Army. Along with volunteer businesses and professionals, Family Promise helps displaced families obtain employment, transportation, medical services and other needs necessary to resume stable housing. In the past nine years they have aided more than 150 families which included more than 500 children.

“We are here to help families help themselves,” Ferraro said. “We help them find other housing, jobs and a vehicle. We help them for either 30 days, 60 days or 90 days. We evaluate their needs every 30 days and try to help them save some money so hopefully they will have a small nest egg before they leave us.”

Ferraro said there is a two-week interview process for applicants to go through to get in the program which includes background checks and drug screening. He said the families are housed among 32 host church facilities.

“This is a faith-based organization,” Ferraro said. “We do not evangelize, but they are staying at a church every night. We house at least four families each week and every church will host families three to four times per year.”

Ferraro said Family Promise is seeking support from county leaders and praised school bus support offered by the Gwinnett County Public Schools to transport children from churches to local schools.

Ferraro said Family Promise also offers an emergency shelter for single women and children and coordinates at least 50 volunteers working throughout the county to help those in need.

“Everybody has a piece of the puzzle,” Ferraro said. “And it takes everybody to make it work.”