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Helping the homeless in Carbon

Family Promise of Carbon County is settling in at their new location inside a former church and rectory in Nesquehoning.

The former St. Francis of Assisi Church will soon be transitional housing where families can stay while working to get back on their feet.

“Now instead of four families, we’ll be able to serve a lot more,” said Natalie Bojko, a member of the Family Promise of Carbon County board. “They’ll have a lot more space here.”

Family Promise of Carbon County recently moved its offices into the church rectory, located on Mill Street. They officially purchased the building in July.

Sometime in 2022, they plan to begin hosting the families to whom they provide meals, counseling and support.

Family Promise has provided shelter and services for people experiencing homelessness for more than a decade.

Since the pandemic, the organization has been paying for hotel stays for the families it serves. Previously, they stayed temporarily in churches around the county that opened their doors.

The rectory will allow the organization to serve more families at once. Before they could serve a maximum of four families at a time.

They anticipate they will need to hire part-time workers and case managers as they serve more families.

“It’s an opportunity to hire people from the community to help people through the process,” Bojko said.

Before people can move into the rectory building, there are some maintenance projects underway converting a building made for clergy into one for families with small children. They are updating the building with required fire escapes, fire alarms and a security system.

The church building is currently being used for storage, but the organization hopes to someday turn it into a homeless shelter for women. It is currently selling the pews inside the church.

There is currently no homeless shelter for women in Carbon County. Family Promise says that about half of the calls it receives for assistance are from single women.

The church also has a large basement hall which could someday host fundraisers and functions for the organization.

The purchase of the building was funded with Community Development Block Grant funding earmarked by the Carbon County Commissioners.

“They give us a lot of support financially to achieve the mission,” Bojko said.

Family Promise welcomes new volunteers. And the public can contribute to the organization’s toy drive by dropping off toys at Construction Clearance, Lansford; Mountain Karate Academy in Palmerton; and Valley Royale in Mahoning Township.

For more information, visit https://familypromisecarboncounty.org or call 610-379-4757.

Natalie Bojko, a member of the Family Promise board of directors, stands inside the sanctuary of the former St. Francis of Assisi Church in Nesquehoning. CHRIS REBER/TIMES NEWS
Joe Solt of Lehighton chips away paint inside the rectory of former St. Francis of Assisi Church in Nesquehoning. Family Promise of Carbon County plans to move into the space.