Frequently Asked Questions

What is family homelessness and why is it a critical issue?

Family homelessness is often referred to as an “invisible crisis.” The parents and children experiencing it are less likely to be seen on the streets than chronically homeless individuals or homeless veterans. Parents most often attempt to stay hidden from sight due to fear and shame. They can be found living in their cars, staying week-to-week in unsafe short-term rentals, or doubled up temporarily with friends or family. But, although not visible, they are the faces of a crisis. Simply put, we have a severe shortage of affordable housing in Hawaii, exacerbated by rising rents and stagnant wages. Low-income families have little or no margin of error, and one misstep can lead to homelessness. Unfortunately, almost 40% of Hawaiʻi’s homeless population are children and their families who have fallen into homelessness because the cost of living is higher than what they are earning.

How does Family Promise’s shelter model work?

Family Promise organizes congregations, social services agencies, nonprofits, and other local organizations to work together to provide a truly holistic response to families experiencing homelessness. Because we utilize existing community resources, we are able to provide services at 1/3 the cost of traditional shelters. Typically, 10-13 congregations agree to provide shelter, meals, and hospitality to families for a week at a time on a rotating basis. Congregations provide shelter space and volunteers cook meals, play with children, and share their professional skills with families in the program. A Family Center serves as a base where families can take showers, do laundry, obtain childcare, receive extensive case management, and search for housing and jobs. A van transports guests to and from the Family Center each morning and evening.

Family Promise often works with congregations. Is there a religious aspect to the organization?

Family Promise is a secular organization. However, because of the religious community’s mandate to serve, and the fact that they typically have space available during the week, we utilize congregations from all faiths as shelter space for families. Many members of host congregations serve as volunteers for us during their congregation’s host week. By working together in a network, congregations are strengthened as people of different faiths unite to work for a better community for all.

How do you find families housing and what is your success rate at helping them stay housed?

Families are empowered to achieve permanent housing. Family Promise staff and volunteers assist in many ways, including helping families address impediments like past evictions, creating relationships with local landlords, and identifying various housing options. Because of this intensive and community-based approach, families have a high percentage of success. 80% of families we serve move into permanent housing. Of the families who have secured housing, 95% remain stably housed.

How are you funded?

The largest percentage of funding comes from individual donors and private foundations who have developed a strong relationship with us because of our impact. We also receive government funding as well as funding from corporate partners. We rely on diversified funding streams to operate our programming.

Is there enough resources for families who are homeless in our community?

Unfortunately, our currently capacity does not meet the need of the community. Every day we are forced to turn away families who are in need of services because we simply do not have enough space. We are always looking at ways to expand so we can increase our capacity so that one day there will be enough resources in our community to help all families who are experiencing a housing crisis.

What are your biggest needs?

Donations allow us to fulfill our mission. An investment in Family Promise of Hawaiʻi is an investment in the lives of children who are in need of stable housing. Please visit our "Donate" page to give today! We also accept in-kind donations of items from our Wish List.

Will you accept furniture? How about items not listed on your Wish List?

Due to limited storage and staff capacity, we are unable to accept any furniture or items that are not listed on our Wish List at this time.

How can I get help?

Do you have kids? Call our Honolulu or Central Oʻahu Family Center to learn more about our services and see if you qualify.

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