Hi! My name is Kelsy and I am the Partners in Housing Family Services Coordinator here at Family Promise of Grand Rapids. In my day-to-day, I see families go from homeless to homeowners in 9 months. It sounds a little far-fetched, so I am going to take you on a short journey of how it works and what it is like to work with families who are going through our Partners in Housing (PIH) program!
Walking into a home for a family’s first official case management meeting, families are bubbly and excited to be out of shelter and into a place of their own. It has been a long road, and these moms and dads are so ready to settle into their very own “home sweet home.” Their children laugh as they run in and out of the open rooms, while they begin to move their items in. We discuss basic needs, schedules, work, support systems, and the values that lay the groundwork for our time together. These families are working so hard and are incredibly proud of getting into this program that will lead them to owning their manufactured home. As I close the door, a little boy waves goodbye to me from the front bedroom window.
I head over to another one of our partnering parks to meet with a different family who is halfway through their programming and only has a few more months until they receive the title to their home! This mom tells me about the home ownership class she just took at Home Repair Services and how she is going to work with them to make some of her own home improvements! She is really excited and loves her neighbors she has gotten to know. Even though her brother is going through cancer, her attitude is so positive and so life-giving. “God’s in control,” she says, as I grab my bag to leave. The strength our families have, after all they have personally been through, astounds me.
My next stop is a final walk-through with another family who has been through 9 months of case management, has taken their home ownership classes in the community, and has paid the title fee to transfer the title into their name. Seth, our PIH Housing Coordinator, stops in to review a home owner’s manual, answer any final questions, and discuss reminders of how to maintain the home well. I offer a ‘Certificate of Completion’ to the family and snap a family photo of them outside their home on their steps. Big smiles and big hearts! Our families are proud, hard working, kind, and determined to succeed.
Our Partners in Housing program is changing the lives of one family at a time. It takes community members like you to help keep this program doing what is designed to do – get families and children home! You can easily get involved by volunteering on our rehab projects – painting, cleaning, demo, light carpentry, and more! You can also give financially towards these homes. A little goes a long way! It only takes $8,000 from start to finish to get a family into a Partners in Housing home. A home. A haven. A safe space. A place for kids to grow up. Consider what you can offer and go to www.familypromisegr.org to learn more!