Family Promise goes on hiatus

Family Promise of the Verdugos
Family Promise of the Verdugos announced this week they will suspend homeless family services effective later this month because of their financial situation. The center is pictured on September 24, 2010 after a free lunch for the families the center serves, with host coordinator Harold Bond in the background and volunteers Jon Ericson and his son Joshua cleaning up tables.
(Raul Roa / Staff Photographer)

A local nonprofit that provides food, shelter and aid to homeless families in Burbank and Glendale will be suspending operations this month due to a shortfall in funds.

Family Promise of the Verdugos, which opened roughly four years ago, will be closed for an estimated six to nine months, until organizers and volunteers can raise $90,000.

“We’re kind of like our families right now — we’re struggling, we’re living month-to-month,” said Kimberly Rhodes, the nonprofit’s executive director. The program, which runs on an annual budget of roughly $150,000, has just $21,000 currently in the bank.

When the program reaches its $90,000 funding target, it will still need $12,000 to $14,000 a month in donations to maintain financial stability. With that income stream, the organization can accommodate up to four families, or 15 people, a month.


Currently, the local nonprofit, which is one of 183 affiliates nationwide, provides shelter and aid to two families. One family has already found transitional housing, while organizers hope to find similar accommodations for the second family by the end of the month.

“Our families are safe and they’re well taken care of,” Rhodes said.

Additionally, two part-time employees, including a van driver and a case manager, are being let go as part of the suspension.

Since 2010, the local Family Promise chapter has served 76 families — including 111 adults and 143 children — in the East San Fernando Valley area, including Burbank, Glendale, North Hollywood and Eagle Rock.


Of them, many had been living in their cars, while another was living in a subway, Rhodes said.

To qualify for the program, families must include at least one adult and one minor, and cannot have a history of alcohol or substance abuse, domestic violence, mental illness or felony convictions, according to the program’s website.

Several people called the program’s founders “crazy” for starting a nonprofit at the peak of the economic crisis in 2008, but the negative financial climate was precisely what fueled the need for such a service, said board president Mary Adney. Volunteers raised funds for two years before opening in July of 2010.

Through partnerships with local churches — 13 of which hosted families overnight — the nonprofit provided families with shelter, food, job development, as well as helped them locate and move into transitional housing. Each family spent between four and eight weeks with the organization.

During the hiatus, the organization is seeking volunteers to write grants, as well as organize fundraising events and campaigns.

Follow Alene Tchekmedyian on Google+ and on Twitter: @atchek.


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