The Board of Trustees of Family Promise of White and Habersham counties (FPWHC) is very pleased to announce that it will be resuming its program to host homeless families in White County as of June 1, 2016.  Since suspending services in February 2015, FPWHC has been following a plan leading to re-opening, including compiling a cash reserve, developing sustainable income sources, adding new board members, and hiring new staff to manage the non-profit and to deliver services to homeless families.  This final step has now been completed with the hiring of a Network Director and a Case Manager.

Martie-Jo Brooks of Cleveland has been hired as Network Director.  Her responsibilities will include overseeing the operations of FPWHC on a daily basis: communicating with host and support congregations; cultivating and nurturing funding partners and fund-raising activities; interfacing with the FPWHC board members and volunteer committees; coordinating training of volunteers; and preparing budgets and reports on program outcomes.  Secondarily, the Network Director will provide back-up assistance to the Case Manager.  Martie was previously employed as parent aide and evaluation specialist at Chestatee Counseling Center in Dahlonega, and she is a long-time resident of White County.  The Program Manager is intended to be a part-time position.

Julia L. Souther of Demorest has been hired as Case Manager.  Her responsibilities will include working directly with families applying for a place in the FPWHC program and following up daily with those who are accepted into the program, as well as coordinating with host congregations. Secondary responsibilities will include supporting the Network Director in various ways.  Julia was previously employed as an addictions counselor at The Pittard Clinic in Tocoa, as a gateway counselor for Legacy Link in Oakwood, and as a foster care case manager with the Georgia Department of Family and Children’s Services for the Habersham, Rabun, and Banks counties region. The Case Manager is expected to be a full-time position.

The hiring of these two experienced and highly qualified social workers to deliver the Family Promise program is the culmination of almost three months of intense recruitment, review of submitted resumes, interviews of candidates, and discussion between the board members of FPWHC and the two finalists. They will both assume their new positions on June 1, and they will operate out of the FPWHC Day Center – a renovated house south of Cleveland donated by Mitch Simpson in 2013.  As soon as formal training is completed in early June, FPWHC will begin accepting applications from families in need.

The Board of Trustees of FPWHC has been assisted in the re-building process by consultants from the Family Promise national organization, which oversees 200 local affiliates in all fifty states of the nation.  The board is also very grateful to all the churches and funding partners who have remained faithful to this worthwhile program, recognizing the need for supporting less fortunate families in our community. The non-profit amended its name in 2015 to include Habersham County, because some client families were originating there and because no such services exist there.  One goal of FPWHC in 2016 is to expand its operations and foundation for support more significantly in Habersham County.

Family Promise of White and Habersham counties is a non-profit organization designed to assist children and their families experiencing economic hardship and crisis. The mission of Family Promise is to mobilize community agencies and resources to help low-income families—families living in their cars, motels, campers and tents, and/or double-occupancy—establish and sustain productive employment, transportation, affordable housing, and ultimately a sense of independence.

Family Promise recruits and relies on local church congregations to foster the needs of the homeless members of the White and Habersham County community. Persons of all faiths and denominations are called upon to reach out to those children and families who are facing devastating daily circumstances, to recognize the dignity and worth of every individual, and to acknowledge and celebrate the bonds that join all people. Host congregations provide shelter, security, meals, and comprehensive assistance as the families work towards gaining employment, housing, and independence.

The collaborative nature of FPWHC’s programs includes coordinating housing and food services through its network of churches; referring clients to existing agencies that provide needed job training, financial aid, and counseling; and providing transportation when clients have none.

For more information about Family Promise, call our office at (706) 865-7725; visit our Face Book page or our web site at www.familypromiseofwhitecounty.com; or contact FPWHC board president Bill Owen at bill@familypromiseofwhitecounty.com

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