JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Family Promise helps homeless families get back on their feet and an Arlington church gave the non-profit a big boost Sunday with the use of a refurbished home.
One year ago Arlington Congregational Church on University Blvd. decided to fix up a home on their property to provide the Family Promise group with a transitional home. Church members got busy working, and Sunday they held a dedication on the front lawn.
It is now home to Sarah Grant and her young daughter and son, Ciara and Jason. They were all homeless.
"We started with a house. We thought we could polish it up a little bit, and get it ready to move in, "said church member Brad Negaard, a church member and contractor who helped oversee the project. "As we got into it, we ended up replacing the electrical, the air conditioning , the plumbing , the roof , the flooring, and redid the windows. A tremendous amount of effort went into this house."
More than $10,000 was spent to get the home up to code and they completely furnished it.
Sarah called it a dream come true, a huge blessing for her and her children.
"They now have beds to sleep in. We were on air mattresses or on the floor. To just come in and have a real bed again, it feels tremendous. I am able to focus on work and school and the children. I am not so stressed, pulled in so many different directions."
Sarah, recently a single-mom, will only have to pay utilities while living in the house. The goal is to save money while working at Walmart and be back on her feet in a few months. That is the goal of Family Promise which is currently helping five homeless families with children.
Mark Landschoot, Family Promise executive director, says this is a huge blessing for the non-profit group.
"Our goal is to help families become self-sufficient. We do that about 70 to 85 percent of the time. We help them get a job or some job training so they can get back into an apartment or a home. That is our goal for the families we work with. We can have families stay in this home until they are able to leave and provide for their families on their own. Once Sarah is able to leave, we can move in another family."
18 area churches work with Family Promise, feeding and housing homeless families a week at a time, but Arlington Congregational Church went above and beyond to provide a transitional home.
"People are seeing something they want to take part in and help other people. They go and do it, that's the thrill," said Dr. Bruce Havens, pastor of the church.
This is the second transitional home provided to Family Promise. The other was provided by Riverside Baptist Church.
Arlington Congregational Church has been working with Family Promise as a host church for six years. Host churches rotate on a weekly basis, taking in three families at a time, setting up individual sleeping areas for the families, and providing meals.
First Coast News