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Joe Nettesheim, Executive Director of Family Promise of Waukesha County shares his insights from the Family Promise Morristown Symposium

The Family Promise Morristown National Symposium was a success. First it was amazing because it was in person! Being able to meet people you have worked with for three years over zoom was just so good. Second it was energizing to have an opportunity to meet with others working on the issue of family homelessness and just talk without interruption. What we found was that almost every affiliate is dealing with the same issues that we are:

  • Lack of affordable housing

  • How to best shelter families

  • Engaging volunteers

  • Implementing new programs

  • How to grow your affiliate and create an infrastructure at a time it is difficult to hire

There are not easy answers to these issues and we were encouraged to find solutions that are appropriate for our own community and affiliate. It was still refreshing to know that we are not alone.

It takes courage to be homeless. It is unimaginable to do as a family. - Pastor Gladys Moore

After the conference the tasks that I believe we need to focus on are:

  • Developing a static site where volunteers can interact with families that we serve

  • Working toward a solution for affordable housing

  • Developing relationships with landlords and establishing incentives for landlords to work with us.

  • Better understand the role that race plays in homelessness and how to bridge the gap between races when hosting.

  • Provide programs that empower families to transform their lives.

We want to grow or “scale up” our affiliate. A panel of four Executive Director's spoke about how they did it. They touched on programs, staffing, facilities, funding, partnerships. It was an overwhelming amount of information. The panel discussion demonstrated the large amount of need and how much Family Promise has grown. There are a multitude of programs being offered by Family Promise. At the beginning of the pandemic, some would ask,” if you do x will your affiliate still be Family Promise?” The answer is yes. One Executive Director said when it comes to Family Promise and helping families who are homeless we are promiscuous. We will implement any program and work with any partner who will help us meet our goal of ending family homelessness.

The closing address was given by Pastor Gladys Moore. A passionate speaker. She ended her talk with this quote from author Peter DeVries,

” We are not primarily put on this earth to see through one another, but to see one another through.”

This is what we do at Family Promise.

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