Churches sign on to help homeless

-A A +A

Other help needed, organizers say

By Cindy Simpson

As many as 20 to 30 homeless families may be in Roane County at one time.
Volunteers are working to find emergency housing through the creation of a local Family Promise.
Family Promise is an organization that uses churches in a weekly rotation as temporary housing for homeless families.
It is nonprofit and nondenominational and includes a day center for the families to work on finding employment, their own home and meeting other needs.

“We have three churches who have committed,” said Donna Smith, a committee member. “We have several churches who are working out the details.”
Those already committing include Morrison Hill Christian Church, Kingston Church of Christ and Luminary United Methodist Church in Ten Mile
“There is a real heart in Roane County for doing this. It is so good to see us working together,” said Joanie McKinney, also a committee member.
The committee is looking for more volunteers.
Thirteen churches are needed to be in the host church rotation, meaning each would have four weeks out of the year when they would be responsible for providing nightly shelter for the participating families.
Churches also can  volunteer in different capacities.
“Others interested can sign on as support churches,” McKinney said.
Volunteers can help with transportation, food or staying overnight at the host churches.
Committee chairman Jennifer Watson, who is also with the Rockwood Housing Authority, knows a thing or two about the homeless.
“They keep calling, and they keep coming in,” Watson said.
The committee is currently looking at different locations for their day center.
For Smith, the permanency will allow the children to flourish.
“They will be able to stay at the school of origin. Studies show every time a child moves during the school year that it is detrimental to their education,” Smith said.
A 15-passenger van will also be needed to help transport the families and their belongings from the church to the day center and then to the next church.
The next meeting for Family Promise is Sept. 10 at 6:30 p.m. at the Rockwood Housing Authority building.