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Non-profit that helps homeless families needs new home

12:29 AM, Dec 1, 2012   |    comments
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A local non-profit that helps homeless families with children is asking for the community's help this month.

The clock is running out on Family Promise's fundraising efforts to purchase a larger operating space.

The issue got attention in October when the group put in an offer on a vacant church on Cedar Lane.

Neighbors concerned about bringing homeless people into the neighborhood got a chance to ask questions and learn more about the organization at an information session.

They've since gained some more support, but they need to raise an additional $75,000 to purchase the property.

The original deadline for closing was December 21, but Family Promise Executive Director Joyce Shoudy says they hope to push that back to January.

In Family Promise Graduate Kathryn Griffin's apartment, it's the little things that make her house a home.

Her eldest son's artwork hangs on the fridge, a crayon colored Thanksgiving turkey with the words 'I love you' followed by a string of xoxo's.

She relishes the experience of cooking her children dinner in their own kitchen, no matter if she calls it a 'poor man's meal.'

Kathryn and her children became homeless earlier in the year after she left a bad relationship and found herself financially strapped.

"I had to let go of my pride," recalls Griffin. "I called Family Promise."

For 73 days they slept at one of the Family Promise network's 20 host churches.

During the day they went to the Family Promise day center to job and house hunt.

"I think the day center is a wonderful thing. It serves it's purpose," says Griffin. Her only complaint is that the tight quarters keep the organization from helping other families like hers.

"We have a waiting list all the time," says Shoudy.

They'll receive a fundraising match for all the money they raise, and she says they need $300,000 in total.

Purchasing the former Presbytery of East Tennessee means they could double the number of families they serve at any given time, from four to eight.

"It's just real leap of faith for me. I just have always felt all along that this was put in our lap for a reason," says Shoudy.

For Griffin, the program was priceless.

She now lives in an apartment with her children and found a job with one of the host churches, working in their daycare. She hopes to go back to school.

"I am proof that you can put your hand in Family Promise, and then we become productive members of society," says Griffin.

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