Thousands of people in Central Florida are on the verge of homelessness, but one local organization is working to prevent that. By Joe Kepner

Family Promise of Greater Orlando opened its doors back in 200 with a unique approach, working with local faith communities and using their facilities as temporary housing.

However, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, they had to shift their strategy, moving families into hotels.

Now, as more churches reopen their doors, Family Promise says they’re ready to shift back, and are hoping to find even more facilities willing to help.

“It’s such a magic that happens, because they love on our families, and they provide them that fellowship, and meals, and a safe place to be,” Family Promise Executive Director Kathy Southern said. “Right now, we’re in a position where we really are needing to find additional churches and congregations to come on board and support our shelter to get it back up and running.”

Southern says they helped 200 families last year find what she calls a “path towards stability.”

“This isn’t about giving families money and sending them on their way,” Southern said. “This is about helping them on that journey, and guiding them to the resources and supports that they need for that long-term stability.”

Southern also says some of their federal funding from the pandemic will soon come to an end, so it was a cause for celebration when Family Promise learned they’d be receiving $30,000 from the Orlando Magic Youth Foundation.

The donation was a part of the team’s effort to donate to 30 local charities in honor of their 30th anniversary season.

“Being able to have that kind of flexibility in funding to be able to meet families’ needs, and to be able to cover some of those costs that we don’t normally get covered in some of those really particular funding sources is an incredible gift to us,” Southern said.

According to Family Promise, approximately 85-percent of the families they help are able to remain in permanent housing.

For more information on how to help support their mission, click here.

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  • info233517

Updated: Mar 7

Greetings Family Promise of Greater Orlando Friends!

We have quickly moved into 2022 with a vigor and commitment to finding ways to continue to expand what we offer to families facing the crisis of homelessness. Each year, we have been able to increase the number of families we serve and 2021 was no different. We ended the year having guided 202 families toward safety, stability, hope and a new beginning! When I say “we”, that includes all of you. Family Promise of Greater Orlando achieves success each year because of the collaborative partnerships of so many individuals, businesses and organizations that share a commitment to offering a hand up to families facing the trauma and uncertainty of homelessness. A commitment to making sure that every child in our community has a safe and stable place to call home to assure they thrive and know how much they are valued. Together, we provided this value to 420 children in 2021 and we hope to increase our impact in 2022 with your support!

We have recently received news that we have a new partner in our mission, the Devos Family Foundation, who has selected Family Promise of Greater Orlando to be a part of their “30 Grants for 30 years” initiative. As part of this initiative, we will receive a $30,000 check and will be featured at a local Orlando Magic game as well as through a video and the use of the Magic’s impactful media presence.

We hope you will join us in this celebration as well as in the countless opportunities this year where you will be able to show the families we serve how much they are valued and how much we believe in their potential for long term success!

Thank you for your continued support!

With Gratitude,

Kathie Southern

Executive Director

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  • info233517

Updated: Feb 22

Katrina and Sam have a home of their own because of your support.

Katrina felt like life was stacked against her. She just received a text notifying her that she tested positive for COVID, for the second time. Not only was she sick from the virus, but her situation was making her feel even more sick. She and her, at that time, 5-year-old son, were living in their car. Sam was supposed to be in Kindergarten, but he wasn’t. Katrina was supposed to be at her job at Walmart, but she had to call in sick…again.

Sam’s grandmother would keep him overnight sometimes and when Katrina had to work but that wasn’t as regular as it should have been. Katrina decided to call 2-1-1 again for the fourth time. Maybe this time would be the lucky charm. Later that day, she received a call back asking her to complete an assessment of her situation. She filled it out quickly and submitted it. Two days later the phone rang while they were sleeping in their car. The voice on the other end of the line told her that they would be referred to Family Promise.

Katrina was paired up with Hary, one of Family Promise's case managers. Hary recognized the importance of finding Katrina housing as quickly as possible, “Katrina and her son needed the stability of a home. The quicker we could get them housed, the better off they would be,” he commented. Katrina was on it. She began researching different locations in Orlando and found an apartment on the west side of town. She immediately submitted an application and received word that they had been approved. She hugged Sam telling him how fortunate they were to find an apartment. Sam was excited but he was most excited about the two pools that were located in the complex!

Katrina continues to work at Walmart. She advocated for herself and was given a raise. Hary and Katrina still meet regularly to discuss her budget and meeting her long-term financial goals. Sam is a happy first grader with math tests and spelling tests on Fridays. Life is feeling normal again. Katrina hopes to continue to improve her financial situation and has her eye on getting a certificate for truck driving, “I’m not scared of those trucks!” she says. “I could drive them on the weekends to help with the bills we owe.” Katrina and Sam can rest easy and begin to dream again now that they have found a place to call home.

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