Partner Profile: Families Moving Forward

Partner Profile: Families Moving Forward

Beacon is a non-profit interfaith housing collaborative that partners with more than 50 congregations to create affordable and supportive housing, provide emergency shelter, and advocate for public and private resources to end homelessness. Beacon currently provides high-quality affordable and supportive housing for 433 low-income households and emergency shelter and transitional services for more than 50 families annually through our Families Moving Forward (FMF) program.

FMF was established in 1991 by a group of pastors and volunteers who recognized a need in the community for emergency shelter and saw the abundant resources of space and time that many congregations in the Twin Cities could offer.  They provide a full continuum of services to help families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness move toward stability – including shelter, supportive services, and affordable housing.

FMF provides shelter for eight families, approximately 32 people, at a time. In addition to safe shelter, families receive comprehensive services to build self-sufficiency, including financial training for parents and developmentally appropriate programming for children. During the FY 2013, they expect to:

– Serve at least 50 families
– Maintain an average length of stay of less than 60 days
– Help 65% of families move into stable housing upon exiting the program

Colonial Church has been blessed to have been a partner church with FMF from the beginning. Colonial hosts 2-3 weeks per year. Sunday School rooms are converted into bedrooms, dinners are served each evening, the gym is used for playing, and overnight hosts sleep at the church. It’s a beautiful ministry of hospitality.

We just hosted another successful week here at Colonial. The week was under the leadership of Bob and Sue Schulze and Peggy Seidel, but it was their last week in leadership as Peggy is moving to be closer to family and Bob and Sue are taking advantage of a much-deserved retirement. FMF has this to say about their leadership:

We at Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative send our deepest gratitude to Bob and Sue Schulze and Peggy Seidel for their collective years of coordinating Families Moving Forward hosting weeks at Colonial Church. Their organizational skills, compassion and kindness have set a tremendous example for all of us. We are so grateful to them for helping your congregation to bring safe shelter and warm hospitality to so many families experiencing homelessness. They may never know how much they’ve touched the lives of those parents and children, but we want to let them know they’ve touched ours. We wish them many blessings in the years ahead.

They leave things in excellent shape and a new team is looking forward to building on past involvement the next time Colonial hosts. FMF is a vital ministry at Colonial and we look forward to many more years of involvement. The partnership is truly a blessing to our congregation.

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