Giving Back

Summit's Family Promise Launches Home Ownership Pilot Program for Homeless Families in Three, Out-of-State Markets

The finished product -- Home Sweet Home.
New homeowners.
Applying elbow grease.

SUMMIT, NJ - Family Promise, the Summit-based national non-profit with a mission to help homeless families achieve sustainable independence, has launched announces the 'Partners in Housing' program, designed as an innovative solution to assist families experiencing homelessness the opportunity to transition quickly to owning homes of their own.

Through funding from the Tides Foundation, Family Promise is making three initial grants of $10,000 to Affiliates in Colorado Springs (CO), Gainesville (FL), and Anoka County (MN) to create pilot programs in which families graduating from their shelter programs are placed in refurbished manufactured housing units in local trailer parks.  In a matter of months, the title to the unit will be transferred to the family and they will become homeowners.

According to Family Promise, the "program is aimed directly at the root cause of family homelessness -- the lack of affordable housing. Estimates are that just one in four households in need of subsidized housing is actually getting it.  This is the core issue behind family homelessness—more than employment, stability, health or anything else."

Sign Up for E-News

Family Promise President Claas Ehlers describes the initiative’s goals:  “Our goal at Family Promise is the empowerment of families to leave homelessness behind and achieve the level of security every family deserves. As a national leader in the fight against homelessness, we are committed to exploring solutions that help families look to the future.  'Partners in Housing' will help many of the families we serve attain the American dream of owning an affordable home of their own.”

The program begins with the Family Promise Affiliate identifying low-cost manufactured housing options, often damaged or distressed, in local trailer parks.  Working with Family Promise national partner Farmers Insurance, which is the nation’s largest insurer of manufactured homes, the home is professionally assessed to ensure that it can be successfully rehabilitated. It is then purchased at a fraction of the cost of other permanent housing options, refurbished by Family Promise volunteers and local business partners, and presented to qualified families who have graduated from the program. 

The families receive extensive case management and ongoing support to assure they will be able to sustain their independence. After a transitional period of 6-12 months, in which the family pays lot rent and utilities, the title to the home is turned over to the family. All parties benefit: the family has obtained a valuable asset and gone from homeless to home owners, the Affiliate has successfully placed a family in permanent housing, and the park owners have a renovated property with a motivated homeowner.

The initiative is modeled after the highly-successful Partners in Housing Program created in Grand Rapids, MI. Over the past eight years, Family Promise of Grand Rapids has moved 91 families into manufactured homes, with a success rate of 97%.  “This program not only ends homelessness for our families but it actually helps them move out of poverty. This changes the future for the children and affords them a real chance at a healthy future, which in turn changes the future for our entire community,” Grand Rapids Executive Director Cheryl Schuch said.

Based on outcomes of the three initial programs, the goal is to expand 'Partners in Housing' next to 10-15 pilot sites representing a cross-section of the regions and demographics served by Family Promise Affiliates. Eventually, Affiliates across the country will be operating 'Partners in Housing' programs, with thousands of families moving from homelessness to home ownership, or variations on the program that could provide other affordable options, such as creating affordable, transitional housing units out of manufactured homes.

Founded in Summit in 1988 to address homelessness in Union County, Family Promise has grown into a national organization with 206 Affiliates in 43 states. Since then, Family Promise has served more than 750,000 people, the majority of them children.

Family Promise Affiliates serve nearly 70,000 people each year by providing shelter, food, and a host of other comprehensive support services.  On average, 74% of the families served by Family Promise secure housing within nine weeks of entering the program.


TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Berkeley Heights

LIVESTRONG® at the YMCA Cancer Recovery Program Session Begins March 20

March 16, 2018

A new spring session for The LIVESTRONG® at the YMCA program, a 12-week cancer recovery program, will begin at the Berkeley Heights YMCA on March 20, 2018. The program is a research-based physical and wellness program in which certified Summit Area YMCA trainers work with participants to achieve their goals. LIVESTRONG®  at the YMCA helps cancer survivors who find themselves in the ...

Discover Your Inner Ballet Dancer


This 8-WEEK class will be focusing on the classical technique of ballet in a fun and easy to understand manner. You can expect a full ballet class experience from working at the ballet barre, to leaping across the floor! No experience is necessary to participate. Easy to move in clothes, and socks or ballet shoes are recommended.


Diversity and Inclusion at the Summit Area YMCA

The Summit Area YMCA is more than a swim and gym. It is more than a childcare center. It is more than a nonprofit organization. It is a welcoming, safe, inclusive and globally diverse environment.

For the past 2 years, the Summit Area YMCA has been recognized as one of only 74 Y’s in the country with a Diversity and Inclusion and Global Innovation initiative. Our Y is made up of people ...

"You're the Star Tonight" Special Needs Prom at St. Bart's on May 5

SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- "You're the Star Tonight" Prom will be sponsored by the St. Bartholomew the Apostle Church (2032 Westfield Ave.) and the YMCA and held on Saturday, May 5, 2018, from 7:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. This night is for "Special Needs Young Adults" from the ages of 14-21. The night will be a full blown prom with red carpet walk up, music, dancing, ...

NPHS Student's Response to After School Walk-out Plan at NPHS

March 14, 2018

A group of students file into a science classroom amid a nervous din of chatter, the air is electric with excitement and nervousness. This small group of approximately 30 students are a studious bunch, largely members of the sophomore class with squeaky clean administrative histories. They are currently preparing to defy authority and stand up for what they believe in, even though they had been ...

New Providence's Allen W. Roberts School Gets Security Walk Through by Police Department after Bomb Threat

March 12, 2018

NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - The New Providence Police Department sent a letter to parents and guardians of students at Allen W. Roberts Elementary School after a non-specific bomb threat was reported on Monday afternoon.

It's the second threat  reported at a New Providence school in March. The first threat was reported on March 5th at New Providence High School.

Emergency ...

Rutgers voices support for proposed state budget

March 14, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK - Rutgers University officials have often been wary of the governor's annual budget message, wondering what type of budget cuts the university may sustain and how it would potentially impact tuition and the overall quality of education.

This budget message, delivered March 13, appears to be a sigh of relief.

Pete McDonough, Vice President of External Affairs at ...

Upcoming Events


Sat, March 17, 12:00 PM

K Primary Care & Medical Nutrition Center, New Providence

Cooking Class Teaches Portion, Calories and Food ...

Sat, March 17, 7:00 PM

Union County Performing Arts Center, Rahway

Footloose, The Musical @ UCPAC March 15-17, 2018

Arts & Entertainment


Sun, March 18, 10:00 AM


Camp Riverbend Open House

Sun, March 18, 2:00 PM

Miller-Cory House Museum, Westfield

Maple Sugar Sunday



Sun, March 18, 2:00 PM

New Providence Memorial Library, New Providence

Surreal Places, Imaginary Spaces: A Literary Tea

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink

Sun, March 18, 2:00 PM

Burgdorff Center for the Performing Arts, Maplewood

Maplewood Strollers Present John Patrick ...

Arts & Entertainment

JCP&L Representative Describes Utility’s Actions During Storm Quinn, Answers Residents' Questions

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ – The format of this week’s  Berkeley Heights 'Here and Now' was turned on its head this week. Mayor Bob Woodruff reviewed what happened in the township following Storm Quinn and its predecessor Storm Riley, complete with statistics. He then asked a representative of JCP&L questions about the utility’s response, and how it was ...

Berkeley Heights, Here and Now: Redevelopment Updates

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - The Mayor's Round Table has been rebranded to "Berkeley Heights, Here and Now." This new format will continue to provide updates from Mayor Bob Woodruff, municipal offices and the Communications Committee want to hear from citizens, businesses and community organizations.

Included in this episode, Mayor Bob Woodruff addresses the status of the ...

Now That The Dust Has Settled…Smart Tax Moves In 2018

Now that the dust has settled, here are some smart tax moves to lower your taxes and/or avoid higher taxes/penalties in 2018. These steps may be especially helpful if you live in high property and high income tax states (e.g. New Jersey, New York, California) since state and local tax deductions are capped.  Unfortunately all these changes mean you’ll need more time and energy to ...