Family Promise North Shore Boston is a nonprofit interfaith hospitality network that provides temporary shelter, meals, hospitality, and case management for families experiencing homelessness on the North Shore of Massachusetts. Family Promise North Shore Boston began serving homeless families on the North Shore in May of 2013. We bring together existing community resources and volunteers in order to further our mission of housing families and helping to get them back on their feet.
We do this through the participation of local faith groups, dedicated staff, and hundreds of volunteers. Family Promise North Shore Boston is committed to keeping families together during their time of homelessness and to helping them through the process of finding support and housing. We do this via three simple elements:
1. Host Congregations
- A church, synagogue, or other group provides temporary overnight lodging in otherwise unused space in its building.
- Not 24/7 — just overnight.
- Not continuously — just for a week, four times a year.
- Not for hundreds — just for two to four families (14 children and adults at maximum).
- And since Family Promise runs criminal background checks and screens for drug or
alcohol use, it’s low-risk.
- In fact, a Family Promise driver even transports the families to and from the host
facility, and carries their bedding and luggage to each new host location.
2. Volunteers Like You
More than 800 volunteers from various congregations of faith do all the “work:” cooking and serving meals, playing with children and helping them with homework, and just being there for families to show them compassion, respect, and to share a sense of community.
Each volunteer signs up for a single two-hour function — just four times a year. Many find that these are two of the most rewarding hours they’ve ever experienced!
You’re in Good Company
Family Promise North Shore Boston currently has over 1300 trained volunteers that are actively helping families across the North Shore. Now we are looking to build on the current success of this proven model via the participation of more committed congregations and volunteers.
Click here to learn more about how to volunteer and make a big difference in helping a local family get back on its feet.
3. Services That Work
During the day, families in the program receive services at our headquarters at 330 Rantoul Street in Beverly. Our van transports our guest families to and from our headquarters. Families can receive mail, catch the school bus, and get ready for the day.
Regaining Family Stability
Our headquarters, also known as the “Day Center,” serves as “home base” for job hunting and connecting with critical services. It also provides a safe location for kids to continue their usual school routine despite the jarring and sometimes traumatic nature of homelessness. At our headquarters, Family Promise North Shore Boston employs a full-time social worker devoted exclusively to helping these families. This committed professional connects with local service agencies to help families find housing, jobs, and other services.
Does It Work? Yes!
Some 75 percent of families at Family Promise affiliates throughout the U.S. find housing within 60 days of entering the program. Family Promise North Shore Boston has already seen families back into permanent, stable housing.
A National Model That Makes a Big Difference on the North Shore
The inspiration for Family Promise began with a woman who regularly encountered homeless people in New York City. Karen Olson, now president of the organization, came to know many of the city’s homeless people after she and her two sons began to bring food to them. Olson soon learned that even in her home community of Union County, N.J., there were hundreds of homeless people, including families. She looked to the religious community for help, convinced that — together — they could accomplish what they could not do alone.
Within ten months, 11 area congregations came forward to provide hospitality space within their buildings. All of the pieces fell into place and onOctober 27, 1986, the first Interfaith Hospitality Network opened its doors.
Since then, Family Promise has established 170 affiliates in 41 states, including Family Promise North Shore Boston, using the services of more than 130,000 volunteers and 5,000 congregations. Family Promise affiliates provide shelter, meals, housing, and job placement support to more than 20,000 homeless family members annually — 58 percent of them children.