History of Family Promise of Monroe County, serving Monroe and Pike counties
The former Pocono Health Communities Alliance laid the groundwork for what is today Family Promise of Monroe County. The Alliance’s Housing Committee saw the need for additional emergency shelter and Family Promise was born. Ruth Piancone served as Family Promise’s first board President and for the next two years, worked with community volunteers to raise funds and recruit congregations to provide overnight shelter for families. Joining Ruth on the board wereLucinda Laliberte, vice president; Brenda Moore, secretary; and Jim Amici, treasurer.
Articles of Incorporation were filed with the State of Pennsylvania and the non-profit tax status was received from the Internal Revenue Service. All that was left was to continue to recruit congregations, volunteers and fundraise. The volunteers continued to plan for services and begin their search for a day center, for families to use days when not working or in school.
In July 2007, 11 congregations were on board to host families overnight, and six supporting congregations were established including East Stroudsburg Presbyterian Church, East Stroudsburg United Methodist Church, Faith United Methodist Church, Mount Pocono United Methodist Church, Stroudsburg Wesleyan Church, First Presbyterian Church of Stroudsburg, Zion United Church of Christ, Lighthouse World Prayer Center, Christ Hamilton United Lutheran Church, The Reformed Church of Bushkill and Trinity Episcopal Church Family Promise of Monroe County became a reality. The following year, two additional congregations joined Family Promise – Mount Pocono United Methodist Church and Zion United Lutheran Church.
2008 - 2018
In May, with an executive director in and budget in place Family Promise of Monroe County opened its doors in Stroudsburg Wesleyan Church Annex Building. Fundraising efforts along the way varied from a Comedy Night, golf outing, fashion shows and a host of activities to introduce the community to the organization and raised needed funds. The program moved locations over the years, always remaining in Stroudsburg.
In 2018, Family Promise launched its Furniture Bank, collecting used beds, dressers, end tables, chairs, dining room tables, plates, silverware, baby clothes, strollers, sheets, towels, couches, lamps, high chairs and toys to give to our families moving from shelter to independent houses. Realizing many families entered shelter with the clothes on their backs, Family Promise worked to ensure household items were available. This allowed families to concentrate on using their paychecks to pay rent, utilities and food, eliminating the need to buy such items for their homes. The program continues today with donations accepted Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
In 2018, Family Promise recognized the need for emergency shelter and housing assistance programs in neighboring Pike County and in July of that year, Family Promise entered into a partnership with the Pike County Commissioners to provide such services there. Since then, a case manager has provided emergency shelter and housing assistance to 300+ households and continues its work there today.
In 2019, Family Promise continued to partner with nine host congregations and 21 support churches to offer emergency shelter, meals and support services, including critical case management to all families in shelter. It was during this year, Family Promise was approached by an individual residing in a large home, a former church, who felt called to serve the homeless. She readied four bedrooms, a large living room area, kitchen and bathrooms to host families. and continued to do so until COVID-19. Family Promise was awarded Pocono Mountains United Way Partner of the Year award “in recognition of outstanding contributions to creating meaningful change in Monroe County.’’
In 2020, COVID-19 forced many changes at the organization. The closure of the congregations, which previously provided overnight shelter and meals to families previously, forced Family Promise to completely change its operating model. Determined to continue providing emergency shelter, Family Promise partnered with local hotels and Streamside Camp and began seeking larger office space and rooms to shelter families on site. The need for services tripled during this period and in June 2020, Family Promise moved to 905 Main St., Stroudsburg. Not only did the site provide more space for staff to work in a safe, socially distant setting, the building provided on-site shelter space for families and provided families to walk day care and employment opportunities in the heart of Stroudsburg.
Without the support of the community, our congregations, civic organizations, school districts, partner agencies, local businesses and Scout troops, Family Promise could not have accomplished all that we have. From March 2020 to March 2021, Family Promise has provided emergency shelter and meals to 64 families of 85 adults and 112 children, up from 22 families the previous year.
Program offerings continued to expand during this time from emergency shelter, meals and support services to also include rapid re-housing, homelessness prevention and rental/utility assistance.
With the issue of homelessness remaining at crisis levels in Monroe and Pike counties, Family Promise will continue serving not only children and their families, but homeless youth ages 18-24, as well as victims of domestic violence due to the acute need for such services in Monroe and Pike counties.
The next years will be marked by growth: more resources and partnerships and a focus on expanding the capability and capacity of Family Promise, which has truly grown to represent a regional need for emergency shelter and housing assistance.
2003: WE BECOME FAMILY PROMISE
We changed our name, from the National Interfaith Hospitality Network to Family Promise, to reflect our broad range of programs and our vision of ending family homelessness. The name refers to the promise, in the sense of commitment, which communities make to families in need. But it also refers to the promise, the potential, inherent in every family.