Family Promise looking to make up funding cut
Family Promise’s new Executive Director Hannah Bartron is doubling down on fundraising efforts after losing federal grant funding. KELLEY ANDRADE/TIMES NEWS
Family Promise of Carbon County stands to lose $38,000 this year because of a change in grant funding.
“Last year we applied for an Emergency Solutions Grant for $46,000 and received it. This year we applied again but only received $7,500 because the state changed its priorities in funding,” said Family Promise Executive Director Hannah Bartron.
Family Promise of Carbon County provides temporary shelter to meet the basic needs of families without permanent housing in Carbon County and the surrounding communities.
“Emergency shelters were not a priority in northeast Pa. this year,” she said.
The state’s Department of Community and Economic Development set funding priorities at the start of the year, excluding emergency shelters and prioritizing “rapid rehousing as the ‘most effective’ way to deal with the homeless problem in our area,” Bartron said.
“With this reprioritizing, shelters will be left behind,” she said.
“We’re looking at a huge amount in funding decrease. Last year we operated with $111,000, and now $38,000 just got axed.
“This is our one shot to get funds that we don’t have to beg and scrape for, so it was very disheartening.”
Hundreds of applicants
Bartron took over as executive director in August 2017, overseeing the hundreds of applications the shelter receives.
Family Promise houses up to 14 people at a time.
“The average time of housing individuals at the shelter last year was 54 days. While it is pretty quick, it’s not ‘rapid.’ We need funding for daily operations at the shelter. It’s taking that money away from people who need a place to stay at night while waiting for rapid rehousing. That is what the shelter is for,” she said.
Last year, the agency served 58 people with children, but had over 300 applicants.
Bartron said funding is used to keep the shelter operating on a daily basis and to implement educational programs such as parenting, nutrition, budgeting and financial classes for those living in the shelter.
“We use it to put gas in the van to drive our individuals to doctors’ appointments, job interviews and different churches. Without the funding we may have to cut the number of people we serve,” she said.
After the $36,000 grant for rapid rehousing was awarded to Carbon County, in this year’s funding cycle, Family Promise received $7,500 of it.
Bridge for families
Family Promise serves as the bridge between getting families off the streets, and out of their couches or cars and help them to catch their breath to take the next step.
“We work on meeting someone’s basic needs, a roof over their heads, a meal and then work on what’s the next step. That’s what the shelter is for. To help get out of that, ‘Where am I going to sleep, what will we eat.’ Once people have basic needs met, they can focus on growth and becoming self-sufficient. We have a mother working on getting a bachelor’s degree now. She couldn’t have done that before. Cutting our funding is putting that kind of progress in jeopardy.”
Rapid rehousing funding is often used for the first month’s rent, security deposits or getting utilities turned on.
The shelter received an outpouring of community support after word went out about funding cuts.
“We’ve been very blessed with having a community that values what we do and want to support our mission,” she said.
“The community is really reaching out because they value us and want to see us continue our work.”
• Hoops for Hope, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Feb. 24 at the Palmerton Junior/High School. Cost is $75 to register a team. Sponsors are needed.
To register for the Hoops for Hope 3-on-3 basketball event, teams can register on the Family Promise website: www.familypromisecarboncounty.org.
• The Fire Escape (nonprofit coffee house) in Palmerton is having a Feb. 20 sale to help the nonprofit. Family Promise will receive a donation for everyone who mentions the shelter’s name on that day.
• Lehighton Area Middle School PTO will host a spring bazaar from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on March 24 with a chair auction. Wooden hand-painted chairs will be donated and auctioned, with proceeds donated to Family Promise.
• A “murder mystery dinner” is being planned for April 7.
Donations of both monetary or household items can be donated directly at the main office at 167 S. Third St. in Lehighton.