• Family Promise


Most teenagers would agree high school can be a tumultuous time. Peers, school, and self-doubts can contribute to the rollercoaster of adolescence.

But 17-year-old Theresa had to contend with even more during those formative years when she and her mother left an abusive family situation and found themselves homeless.

“[Leaving] was the best decision my mom could have made for us. But it left us without a home,” she says, remembering the anxiety and depression that eventually put her in the hospital.

Theresa recalls the stigma of homelessness was difficult to ignore and confesses most of her friends were unaware of her situation.

“I was embarrassed to be homeless and hid it from people,” she admits. “But that made me feel disconnected and isolated.”

She and her mom stayed with family and friends and spent time in a motel before Family Promise of Anoka County, MN, brought a sense of structure and stability to their world and empowered them to rebuild their lives.

“No one deserves to feel alone during a time of need,” she says. “Family Promise was there for us.”

Theresa’s mom soon found steady employment, the family moved into a new home, and Theresa was encouraged to apply to college, something she had previously feared might not be possible.

Last spring, Theresa graduated from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities with a degree in Human Resource Development. She says Family Promise inspired her field of study and instilled in her a desire to help others. She now works in human resources and is contemplating pursuing a graduate degree, and she dreams of one day forming a nonprofit to help troubled youth and teens.

Theresa also serves on the Family Promise Guest Advisory Council, a body of graduates who use their experiences with poverty and homelessness to help shape organizational policies and initiatives.

“We’re dispelling misconceptions of homelessness and giving a voice to those often ignored by society,” Theresa explains. “We let people know it’s ok to step out of the shadows and ask for help.”

Theresa is living proof that homelessness is a situation, not a label, and hopes to serve as an example for children battling this crisis.

“I want youth struggling with homelessness to know they can still do great things with their lives,” she says. “There are people fighting for them.”

Theresa is one of them.

Originally Published on Family Promise

  • Family Promise

For over ten years, Family Promise of Southern Ocean County’s mission has been to reduce family homelessness in Ocean County. This year, we are proud to have served over 630 people, providing shelter, resources, financial aid, and more to families across Ocean County. COVID-19 forced the Family Promise of Southern Ocean County hospitality network of local churches to shut down for the safety of our staff, volunteers, host sites, and families. We continue to adapt and grow despite the crisis; partnering with local motels to provide temporary shelter, hosting online events, and launching the Anchors to Stay Prevention program to prevent homelessness.

The Anchors to Stay Prevention Program is a vital aspect of our mission in preventing family homelessness. It allows us to work with families who are at risk of losing their homes and keep them safely where they are. Through this program, we have provided financial aid for rent, mortgages, and security deposits to eligible families throughout Ocean County. In the first 60 days, the Anchors to Stay Prevention Program prevented homelessness for over 80 families. More families reach out each day, including medical professionals, teachers, and other essential workers.

One family we have been able to help was a single mom, Jenna (name has been changed), who works in the education field. Earlier this year, due to COVID-19, she was struggling with financial stability and felt she had nowhere to turn. When Jenna learned about Family Promise of Southern Ocean County, she reached out to us for help. Through the Anchors to Stay Prevention Program, we worked with her to create a plan of action to further her career and organize her finances. With our assistance, Jenna was able to get back on her feet and feel confident on her career path.

With New Jersey’s eviction moratorium being lifted on January 1st, we are expecting more families like Jenna’s to be in need of our programs. We need help from donors like you to continue our mission of helping children and their families stay safely in their homes. You can make a donation online at or mail your donation with the enclosed pledge card and self-addressed envelope.

Together, we can end family homelessness.

With Love,

Elizabeth Golla

Executive Director

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  • Family Promise

Homelessness isn’t selective. For more than 30 years, Family Promise has seen families from all backgrounds and regions of the country struggle with housing crises. That includes military veterans, who comprise more than ten percent of the homeless population in the U.S.


Disabled veteran David and his three children were living out of their truck when they found Family Promise of Brevard (FL). Family Promise helped him initiate a job search, gave him budgeting skills, and connected the family to appropriate social services. Family Promise also secured a VA voucher so the family could move into housing. Once they were settled and stable, David and his children wanted to help other families battling homelessness.

“We wanted to give back to families going through the same thing we did,” David says. The family surprised Family Promise of Brevard with a $2,000 check.

David is grateful for the support he received rebuilding his life.

“As a single dad of a girl and two boys, there was no organization out there that could help,” he recalls. “Family Promise made it so we didn’t have to be torn apart.”

Click here to hear David’s journey in his own words.


When Berger, Elida, and their two children were evicted from their home, Berger didn’t immediately disclose he was a military veteran – he felt there were vets in need of greater assistance. The family found Family Promise of Greater Phoenix (AZ) when searching for shelters that accepted pets and could accommodate their two therapy dogs.

Family Promise’s Pets with a Promise program, developed with PetSmart Charities, kept the entire family, including pets, together during a critical time, minimizing the trauma and disruption of their situation. The children continued to excel in school and activities without skipping a beat.

Family Promise facilitated a job opportunity for Berger and ensured his eligibility for rapid re-housing through a veterans’ support agency, and the family soon found a new home.


A cancer diagnosis was the beginning of trying times for Air Force veteran and single dad Brian. His medical treatments halved his work hours, eventually leading to the loss of his home. Brian sent his 16-year-old son Brennan to stay with friends and began sleeping in his car.

He exhausted every resource he could find – veterans connections, social service agencies, shelters – but the programs in his area catered to single moms, and his income, though limited, disqualified him from other benefits.

Father and son were reunited at Family Promise of North Fulton/DeKalb (GA), but the trauma had taken its toll on Brennan. He was disheartened and struggling at school.

“All he wanted was his dad and a stable life,” says Brian. “Family Promise helped us get there.”

Brian worked with Family Promise to pay off his debt and find housing, all while battling his illness. And when Brennan was ready, Family Promise helped the teen find a summer job. Now a senior in high school, Brennan’s debating between following his father’s footsteps into the Air Force or attending college.

Brian’s still fighting for his health, but he feels hopeful about the future. The family was recently selected to receive a vehicle through a national car donation charity, and they remain connected to Family Promise.

“I’ve had great mentorship at Family Promise. We’re taking it one day at a time now,” Brian says.

This Veterans Day, Family Promise extends a resounding thank you to all the retired servicemen and women, as well as active duty and reserve military personnel, who have worked to keep our nation safe and free.

Happy Veterans Day from all of us at Family Promise!

Originally published by Family Promise

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