What is Valley Interfaith Promise (VIP)?
Valley Interfaith Promise (VIP) is a unique sheltering program for homeless families with children. VIP provides shelter, meals, transportation, and comprehensive support services through partnerships with local agencies, businesses, congregations, and individuals.
Valley Interfaith Promise is a nonprofit 501(C)(3) and non-denominational organization. VIP began serving homeless families in the Chattahoochee Valley in 2006.
VIP is an affiliate of national Family Promise®. Family Promise®, established in 1986, is a national organization with over 181 networks in 41 states. These networks utilize over 6,000 congregations and 160,000 volunteers each year.
A Video History of Family Promise
Why Valley Interfaith Promise?
Because Family Promise networks are successful! Locally, in 2012, 83% of the families succeeded in reaching their goals of full-time employment and permanent housing. In 2010, 93% of the families succeeded. VIP experienced a 72% success rate in 2013. Nationwide, over 70% of the families succeed.
Valley Interfaith Program is reaching out to those in need in Columbus / Phenix City and the surrounding areas. The current local school statistics show over 1,000 homeless students live with relatives, or friends, in cars, in hotels, vacant buildings, and other uninhabitable conditions.
Columbus only has up to 30 beds for families with a father present, with VIP housing 14 of those.
In 2012, number of homeless households increased by 7% in Georgia, and by 14.5% in Alabama. Homeless families were the ONLY subgroup among the homeless population that increased in numbers.**
** Source: The Homeless Research Institute: The State of Homelessness in America, 2013.
How does Valley Interfaith Promise work?
Homeless families seeking assistance from VIP must call the office to begin the application. The application process takes 2 to 3 business days because we conduct a nationwide criminal background check and drug test.
Since the VIP program is conducted by 99% volunteers, an in-depth interview is conducted. VIP will NOT accept applicants with violent felonies, outstanding warrants, drug or alcohol abuse, or individuals exhibiting unsafe behaviors.
A qualified homeless family will participate in our program for an initial 30 days. However, extensions are granted if progress is being made toward job and housing stability. The average stay of a successful family is around 2-3 months.
The family will be seeking employment/housing from the VIP Day Center during the day and stay at a host congregation’s facility overnight.
VIP is able to serve up to three (3) families, consisting of no more than fourteen (14) people, at a time.
Five important resources for Valley Interfaith Promise:
Host Congregations open their facilities to provide evening hospitality, overnight lodging, and meals, every evening for one week, four to five times a year. Host Congregations have a weekly rotation schedule for hosting.
All the VIP families are at one Host Congregation for the week. The families are at the Host Congregation facility from 5:30 p.m. until 7:00 a.m. Families will spend the day at the Day Center. They will be transported to the next Host facility on Sunday afternoon of each week. See Congregation page for the list of churches involved. There are eleven (11) host locations.
The volunteers are the lifeblood of Valley Interfaith Promise. Volunteers provide a variety of services: cooking and serving meals, playing with children or helping with homework, and staying overnight. Volunteers interact with the guests treating them with respect and responding with compassion. Volunteers are been emotionally rewarded as they care for the families in a loving way.
Since this is done in the familiarity of the Host Congregation facility, it provides a great and safe, opportunity for volunteers with children to participate. Volunteer opportunities are also available at the Day Center.
VIP DAY CENTER
Each day the guests are brought to our Day Center. It provides a place for our guests from 7:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. The VIP office is also located here. The VIP staff consists of one full-time Director, one part-time Case Manager, and one part-time Driver.
During the day, guests will go to work or look for work. Some may be attending courses to make them more marketable. The children will attend either their school, a childcare facility, or summer programs. The Day Center has a shower and laundry facility. Therefore, churches without these facilities can still participate in hosting the families.
Valley Interfaith Promise will transport guests from the Host Congregation to the Day Center and back. VIP owns a 15-passenger, minibus (no CDL needed). VIP may also provide transportation to employment interviews, housing searches, medical/dental appointments and social service agencies.
Since VIP is self-supporting, it is very critical to open and maintain avenues of funding.
The VIP budget is at approximately $195,000 for 2015.
Expenses include direct assistance, insurance, utilities, maintenance, and a number of other necessary items to make our program a success.
VIP always seeks donations (both material and monetary), grants, and fundraising opportunities. If you can be supportive in any of these ways, please contact us. You can also make a safe and protected monetary donation on this web-site.
Our funding comes from:
- local foundations (31%),
- individuals (27%),
- congregations (23%),
- VIP Bed Race (17%),
- and corporations (2%).
Each year, VIP hosts the annual Bed Race and Parade on the last Saturday of February.
Every Fall, we send out request letters for funding toward next year’s budget.
Every dollar you donate to VIP produces a 3-to-1 or higher return on your investment. VIP can make a difference and YOU can too!