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Program to help homeless in Forsyth secures church support
Family Promise still seeking director, vehicles

At a glance

Following are the Family Promise of Forsyth County host congregations:
* Good Shepherd Catholic Church

* Freedom Tabernacle

* Saints Raphael, Nicholas, and Irene Greek Orthodox Church

* Christ the King Lutheran Church

* Midway United Methodist Church

* Cumming Baptist Church

* Bethelview United Methodist Church

* St. Columba’s Episcopal Church

* Trinity Worship Center

* The Vine Community Church

* Abundant Life Church

* Cumming First United Methodist Church

* Creekside United Methodist Church

Following are the Family Promise support congregations, which will provide volunteers:

* Salt Life Church

* Episcopal Church of the Holy Spirit

* Johns Creek Baptist Church

* Deer Creek Shores Presbyterian Church

* Parkway Presbyterian Church

* Pleasant Grove United Methodist Church

FORSYTH COUNTY — A local nonprofit that provides support and a sustainability program to homeless children and their families recently received a letter of commitment from the 13th and final church it needs to open.

When Creekside United Methodist Church signed, Family Promise of Forsyth County secured enough host congregations to run its program, which will house up to 14 children and family members suffering from homelessness.

“We’re so excited. We can always get more, though,” said Lu Leeds, chair of the board of trustees for the nonprofit, which is a local branch of a nationwide organization. “We have the beginning of the funding we need.

“We’ve developed a board of trustees who are working with us, which will be permanent. So the [interim board] has stepped back.”

At last count, there were nearly 500 Forsyth County students who qualify as homeless under federal regulations. That means they and their families sleep in a hotel, vehicle, with friends or relatives or on the street.

That number does not include siblings outside the kindergarten-12th grade range or their parents, said Kim Bolivar, the school system’s homeless education liaison.

Families participating in the program will be housed at a church for a week at a time on a rotating basis, where they receive meals and a bed.

During the day, students will be taken to school from the day center, a central meeting point that will be located at Freedom Tabernacle. While they are at school, young children will attend day care at the center while parents will receive educational and work force development and financial planning classes.

The goal is to give parents time where they don’t have to worry about where they will put their children to sleep or what they will eat so they can focus on job searching and learning the tools to become self-sustainable.

Family Promise has shown success in 40 states, including in Georgia and as close as Gwinnett and Hall counties and the north Fulton area.

Though Forsyth organization has the number of churches it needs to begin and the funding to start, it can always use more volunteers and additional financial support.

“Now we still need a van, a truck and a program director,” Leeds said. “The director is a full-time paid employee … that does all the coordinating and directing of the day center and any staff that we will eventually hire. They get referrals and do networking with social agencies.”

The job opening was posted about two weeks ago, Leeds said.

They also need a 14-passenger van to transport participants to and from the churches and day center and a U-Haul-style truck to haul the beds.

The next fundraiser to support Family Promise is set for 7:30 p.m. May 6 at Midway United Methodist Church, where Tim Malchak, a Christian country singer, will put on a benefit concert. Tickets are $15.

For more information on the nonprofit or the job opening or to buy tickets for the upcoming concert, visit