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Our Emergency Shelter Program continues to remain suspended at this time, as all 14 of our host congregations in our congregational rotation are still unable to host families due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are continuously monitoring all State and County regulations, but we do not have an anticipated date of return for the Emergency Shelter Program at this time. All families in the program prior to the pandemic continue to be safely housed at our Short-Term Housing facilities.

Even in the middle of a global health crisis, we are happy to announce that we will have two of our families in Transitional Housing graduate to their own housing in the next few weeks! Amazingly, these families have found a way to not only survive, but thrive, during the pandemic. Family Promise has been honored to help them find their way home! Because of the space that will become available at our Short-Term Housing facilities, we are anticipating being able to accept up to three new families who qualify for our Short-Term Housing program!

We also continue to support on a weekly or bi-weekly basis ten of our graduate families with USDA produce donations, meat donations, and paper goods/household supplies. On July 15th, our program distributed 206 pounds of farm-raised pork to our families!

Our staff is also hard at work with the preparations for our Annual Gala, which has gone VIRTUAL this year! We are excited to share with you all the fun and surprises we have planned for our very first virtual gala event! We will be having a Silent Auction, which opens on August 17th, as well as the main live stream event on Saturday, August 22nd at 6:30 p.m. More information can be found on our Events page. Mark your calendars, and we hope to “see” you there!

Despite the many challenges our program has faced this year, we have been fortunate to have the amazing support from our community. Our host and support congregations have been so generous in making sure our program and our families are taken care of during this difficult time. Donors, volunteers, and friends have come together, and we have seen great kindness as we navigate the unique challenges this pandemic has presented. We look forward to our host congregations reopening their doors and once again being able to welcome families into their care. Until then, we hold steadfast in our commitment to helping the families in our program in any way we can!

For ways that you can help the families of Family Promise of Orange County during the pandemic, please see our Current Needs page.

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Dear Friends,

Today, Juneteenth, I find myself in deep reflection and prayer about what I can personally do to help bring equity and equality to our society and for the people I love. As you read my personal reflection, I am challenging you to also consider what you can do to help unite our community. Please take the time both today and in the future to listen intently to the pleas of those who are asking us to end systemic discrimination, racism, oppression, and violence.

As a poor, blonde Caucasian girl growing up in Santa Ana, I had friends of all races, but my best friends were Jewish, Bolivian, and Black. Not until recently did I fully understand the discrimination, racism, and other injustices that my Black friends experienced. I want equity, justice, and equality for ALL, and I stand in solidarity with those who are working to implement change. I stand with those near and dear to my heart and with those I have never met.

As an organization that supports families experiencing homelessness, we commit to telling the full story of homelessness, the one that includes systemic racism that has left so many Black Americans without housing or wealth. The events of the past few weeks, as well as the past three months, have highlighted the importance of the work that we all do, as well as highlighted some uncomfortable truths: 13% of the US population is Black, over 40% of people who are homeless are Black, while our 1,200 volunteers are predominately White. Family Promise of Orange County is part of a larger network of over 200 Affiliates in 43 states, engaging over 200,000 volunteers with one goal: ending family homelessness. We have a unique seat at the table that allows us to promote change and take an active role in being part of the solution.

We honor the work being done to end family homelessness in our community, and we honor the broader work being done toward justice. We commit as an organization to be open, diverse, and educated. We know there are no easy solutions to ending centuries of systemic racism, but we will hold ourselves accountable to reflect, listen, learn, and use our abilities to make a difference.

Let us do this work together to build an Orange County that helps ALL our residents thrive and let us work together so that we can have the equitable communities to which we all aspire. Just as we work together to help end homelessness, only TOGETHER can we truly end racial inequality in our community.

God Bless,

Cyndee Albertson

Executive Director

Family Promise of Orange County

  • Malia

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to dramatically affect our program operations, as all 14 host congregations in our Emergency Shelter Program either remain closed completely or are only slowly opening with limited capacity. Therefore, our congregational rotation continues to be suspended at this time. All families in the Emergency Shelter Program at the onset of the pandemic continue to be safely housed at our Short-Term Housing facility. We are still not accepting new families into the program at this time.

On a weekly basis, we continue to support our program families and our graduate families who have been hit hard by the pandemic with food donations, supply donations, case management, and other assistance. Over the last three months of the pandemic, Family Promise of Orange County has supported 23 families for a total of 88 people. Since the crisis began, we have had an average of 17 families and 69 people coming weekly to us for food & supply distribution. This is a drastic increase from the 8-10 families our program usually supports at one time!

We continue to be supported by partner organizations such as the United Way of Orange County and Bracken's Kitchen, who generously donate much needed food and supplies for our families. As a result of the CARES Act, we have also been able to receive USDA food boxes on a weekly basis, which help to provide food staples to help offset the food insecurity many of our families are facing right now.

We have been fortunate to have a few volunteers return to the office to help with our weekly donation sorting and distribution efforts. We also in the last week have begun accepting volunteers to help clean and organize the Family Resource Center, so that we will be ready to go once our program reopens in the future. We even had the Helpful Honda Guys stop by to lend us a hand!

Even though there are many hardships right now, there have been several blessings for our program. Despite COVID-19 and all its challenges, we have had six families graduate so far in 2020! One graduation was bittersweet, however, as we had to say goodbye to Elijah and LaShona, who moved across the country to Tennessee. We will miss them, baby Elijah, and new baby Eliona dearly.

Speaking of new babies, another graduate family, Edgar and Elizabeth, welcomed their newest bundle of joy in May, baby Isaias. We are overjoyed to have another member of the Family Promise family!

Even though our program looks a lot different right now, we remain committed as ever to the mission of eliminating family homelessness in Orange County. It is our goal to help all the families in our program survive and even thrive during this difficult time. We look forward to the future where we can once again reconnect in person with our amazing congregations, volunteers, and supporters!

For ways that you can help the families of Family Promise of Orange County during the pandemic, please see our Current Needs page.

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