Family Promise: An Opportunity of Hope

Ryan Kirksey, board chair, Jessica Lira, case manager and Gayle Nelson executive director of Family Promise

By Alisa Star

Family Promise was founded by Karen Olson in 1986 with the mission of helping homeless and low income families to achieve sustainable independence. It also allows communities to develop comprehensive, holistic solutions for families facing homelessness.

Many of the homeless are invisible and are professional. They have come upon hard times due to many legitimate reasons such as divorce, death, illness or medical reasons, just to name a few.

Families that are in crisis come to Family Promise for help, food , shelter, and support. They also provide counseling to families for prevention. Usually the time for most families that are placed in the program is three to six months. The ultimate goal is for the families to graduate the program, and to transition into their new life and home.

Statistics show that 60% of the homeless are women with children, and 40% are men with children. There were over 2,000 homeless children for the year 2018-2019 in the Clear Creek community. Not having a place to call home is probably the toughest for children, besides the feeling of uncertainty and shame of living in shelters. Homelessness also affects children’s learning and disrupts their entire life.

Family promise has a full library, as well as children’s books and videos, and it also offers a martial arts program for the children. This program teaches children to focus, and become more disciplined, which consequently helps the child to develop solid self-esteem.

There is a three step process for receiving help from Family Promise. Telephone screening and intake interview and paperwork “background check, and drug screening.” Families that are accepted into the program must have a job, and take the classes for the 5 step program, which consists of Shelter and Wheels, Life Skills, Ride to Success, Graduate Program and Prevention and Diverse Program. This allows families to successfully prepare to graduate from the program for success.

Out of 28 families in the program 12 of them have graduated the program since March 2017 and still remain independent.

There are five Family Promises located in the Houston vicinity, with one being in the Clear Creek area at 1101 Egret Bay Blvd. in League City. Clear Creek Family Promise opened its doors in March of 2017.

There are 19 churches and 13 host churches involved in the Family Promise network. The churches prepare home cooked meals every night and help host families. There are over 700 volunteers in the Clear Creek area program. Family Promise is 100% funded by the community. They rely solely on annual fundraising events.

Bay Area Houston Magazine Is proud to sponsor the Reach for the Stars Fundraising Gala on Oct. 5 from 6-9 p.m. at Bay Oaks Country Club in Clear Lake. Tickets are $75.

The event will consist of live entertainment, cash bar, silent and live auction. Bay Area Houston Magazine President and CEO Rick Clapp will be the auctioneer for the evening.

For more information on Family promise or events, contact Gayle Nelson at 832-932-3963, or e-mail at

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