Fort Bend Family Promise: A Ministry to Families with Children Who Are Experiencing Episodic Homelessness

“Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing so some people have entertained angels without knowing it….”   

– Hebrews 13 (NIV)

Many churches throughout Fort Bend County have been in a partnering relationship with the interfaith ministry of Fort Bend Family Promise (FBFP) since 2005.

The Mission of Fort Bend Family Promise is to meet the immediate needs of homeless families while empowering them to attain self-sufficiency. We serve children who are experiencing homelessness with their parents and family members. Our unique program model allows us to unify families, while traditional shelter programs separate families during episodes homelessness.

Lamar Consolidated ISD is currently tracking over 700 students who have “housing insecurity”, i.e. shifting addresses, couch-surfing, sleeping in vehicles, and so on. Fort Bend I.S.D. has identified over twice that number of children in risky housing situations. The numbers are larger when we include younger non-school age children.

Coalition churches have formed a Network with Fort Bend Family Promise to provide hands-on ministry to those children and their parents in need.  Church volunteers do this by serving meals each night and preparing temporary overnight shelter to selected families in the program. While our program works with each family on an individualized plan to secure permanent housing, the congregations in our Interfaith Hospitality Network (IHN) provide 1 week of overnight shelter and meals to 4-5 families every 3 months.

FBFP’s Day Centers serves as a base for Case Management in the form of Housing Navigation that is focused on individual plans to attain and sustain permanent housing. Our East Campus in Missouri City (and soon to open West Campus in Rosenberg) have laundry and shower facilities and lockers for clothing and personal belongings. FBFP refers families to partner agencies for additional ancillary services. Meanwhile, we assure that the children are attending school and participate in extra-curricular activities. The success rate after two years is 80-85%, far exceeding that of other shelter programs.

The power of the program is that the families we serve are surrounded by people of faith as they work through our program to attain self-sufficiency. Church volunteers benefit from sharing their church home and a warm meal, showing love and hospitality to the strangers as Jesus asked us to do.

Should your congregation like to explore becoming part of this vital life-changing ministry, please contact Fort Bend Family Promise at (281) 403-3923.

Staff Writer
Staff Writer

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