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This blog provides the top 5 highlights or updates about Family Promise of Waukesha County for Friday, February 17, 2023.

The Friday Five is a weekly blog post/update that focuses on the top five occurrences, issues, opportunities facing Family Promise each week. It is our hope that it will help you stay informed and connected to the mission of Family Promise of Waukesha County.


Our mission is to help low-income families and families experiencing homelessness achieve sustainable independence

through a community-based response.


The stories you can read this week are:


What situation do you consider a family being homeless? Mark all that apply.



There was joy at Family Promise of Waukesha County this week, when we learned that one participant family received a Section 8 housing voucher from the Waukesha Housing Authority. A Section 8 housing voucher means that this mom will pay 30% of her income toward rent and the remaining amount will be subsidized by the State of Wisconsin.

The voucher program is a strategy that creates affordable housing opportunities. She will now have 60 days to find an apartment that accepts the voucher. This is not an easy task since there are more people with vouchers than landlords who accept them. Yet it is an excellent opportunity for her and her children to achieve permanent housing.

“My favorite day at Family Promise was the first day, just seeing my kids sleeping in a bed, peacefully asleep.”



You can help us implement our new shelter program. Here are ways you can get involved:

Partner Organization

Select one evening a month that your business, faith community, civic group, book club, card club, bike club or whomever would provide a meal and hospitality to families in the shelter. This would require about 2-5 volunteers each time you serve. Volunteers would need to be trained and have a background check. To explore the possibility of becoming a partner connect with Maria.

Lead Volunteer

Lead Volunteers work in pairs and would be responsible for the shelter from 5-10 pm. To become a lead volunteer you would be asked to complete an application, discuss the role with Maria and Joe, and participate in intensive training.


Overnight Volunteer

Our intention is to hire staff to serve overnight, however if there are individuals who would be willing to stay overnight it would be another way to control costs. These volunteers would go through the same training process as a lead volunteer.

Interested in either or both volunteer positions? Fill out the inquiry form below

Become a Promise Builder Member

A Promise Builder are individuals and groups who make a commitment to ensuring the well being of financially vulnerable families. Individuals commit to a recurring donation. Corporate sponsors make a significant donation. All of these recurring donations would be used to help prevent homelessness, divert individuals from a homeless shelter and support both of shelter programs.



Becoming homeless is a disruptive force. Sometimes we forget that when a family becomes homeless or undergoes an eviction they are leaving in a hurry and often with only the items they can carry. Denise O'Halloran and her sister Gail Frangiamore, have been helping families get a new start since May 2015. Over that time they have assisted over 60 families move from shelter to a newly furnished home. This is a gift to the families and an inspiration to all of us.

Today we are pleased to share that their program now has a name. It is called Fresh Start Furnishings. Plus they have a new page on our website. On this page you can see updates of the homes they set up, current needs and have a way to reach out to them and see the item you have is needed.

Thank you Denise, Gail and the crew that supports them. You provide a service of kindness and compassion!



Housing First is an approach to serving those experiencing homelessness that believes housing is the most basic need and that other issues facing a client cannot be successfully addressed without stable housing. Housing First focuses on helping the most vulnerable of people who may not have the ability to advocate for themselves. Protecting and serving those who are most vulnerable is a good thing. On the other hand though, creating a prioritization list guarantees someone will be left out as being judged not homeless enough. In our current system it is those who are living doubled up or paying for a hotel. In fact those in that situation do not meet the definition of homeless used by the Department of Housing and Urban Development

The definition of homelessness by HUD is the one that most agencies follow because HUD also determines who is eligible for government funding. What this means is that if you are paying for a motel you are not considered homeless. (Side note: the Department of Education uses a different definition that would include those individuals doubled up. Since they do not control the purse strings it is not the definition used by most agencies or if they do, they are not eligible for funding.) What this does is leaves us with a one size fits all response to homelessness. Plus families and individuals who have been evicted but are living with friends or family are not counted as homeless, nor are they eligible for government funded services. This is often the population that we serve.

Diane Nilan is an author who advocates for people experiencing homelessness. She wrote a letter to her hometown requesting an approach to serving those who are homeless that is comprehensive and moves beyond a one size fits all mentality.

She also created a video titled: Not Homeless Enough. It is about those who were without a home but would not be defined as homeless. It does not take long to see that even those living doubled up or in a hotel are vulnerable.

The worst part of this situation is that there are simply not enough resources to serve everyone, so agencies have to pick and choose who to help and often they have to pick based on funding availability.



What situation would you consider a family homeless? Mark all that apply.

  • 0%Living in a motel- paying for fees themselves

  • 0%Living in a motel - an agency paying their fees.

  • 0%Living in a home with a friend or relative

  • 0%Couch surfing- never staying more than 2 or 3 days in a row

You can vote for more than one answer.



Family Promise of Waukesha County will be a recipient of a $40,000 grant from the Otto Bremer Trust. These funds will be used for operations and support our Apartment Shelter Program, Prevention and support the expansion of our shelter program.




It is not too late to register! Join us on March 28 for a luncheon at St. Anthony on the Lake Parish, Pewaukee when Family Promise of Waukesha County is awarded a Treasures of the Church Award from Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.



February 19-25 Host: TBD

Feb 26 - Mar 4 Host: Reformation Ev. Lutheran Church

Mar 5 - Mar 11 Host: St. Theresa

March 28 Lenten Luncheon: Family Promise receives Treasures of the Church Award

Registration required. St Anthony on the Lake, Pewaukee




You can also join our Facebook volunteer group to learn about volunteer opportunities.


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