Beacon's Families Moving Forward program offers families experiencing homelessness hospitality, emergency shelter and a path to home with support for stability.
How does the program operate? Volunteers from about 80 congregations throughout the Twin Cities metro area create shelter space at congregation sites. In addition to a safe place to sleep and a warm meal, volunteers share kindness and compassion with families experiencing homelessness. Completing the circle of support, our professional staff work closely with each family to address their unique barriers to stability so they may leave our shelter program for permanent housing.
Where is it located? The Families Moving Forward-Hennepin Program Center is located at 1808 Emerson Avenue North, Minneapolis, 55411. The phone number is 612-529-2185. The Families Moving Forward-Southwest Program Center serving Carver and Scott counties is now located at 145 Engler Blvd, Chaska, 55318 (lower level of Shepherd of the Hill Presbyterian Church). The phone number is 952-230-2930.
How many families do you serve? Our capacity is 12 families at a time, 8 at FMF-Hennepin and 4 at FMF-Southwest. Families are often referred to us by counties;another service agency or even word of mouth.
What is a day in our program like? Everyone has a routine, and families say that’s really important to them. During the day families use the Program Centers as a hub. They include staff offices, storage space for personal belongings, a kitchen, laundry machines, computer access, a living room, children’s play area and a quiet room. School buses pick up children for school or HeadStart here, and bring them back at the end of the day. Parents go to work, meet regularly with our staff, search for housing and jobs, meet for financial literacy class, do laundry, make meals and care for their children.
In the evenings, congregations take turns weekly to open their doors to welcome families, providing a safe place to sleep, hot meals, activities and friendship. We arrange for bus transportation from the Program Centers to hosting congregations each night, and the return trip in the morning. The night shelter program relies on the commitment and compassion of congregational volunteers.
Do you help families find homes? Yes, we know that shelter is a temporary solution. Families need homes where they can create stability and success so parents work with our staff advocates with the goal of securing stable housing within 60 days of arriving. Check out this family story as an example. We will support about 75 families this year to find a home.
How can my congregation or I help? If your congregation is interested in hosting families or inviting a Beacon staff member to speak, please contact Kristin Gilbert, congregational engagement coordinator, or call her at 651-789-6260 x205. If you'd like to support our work financially, look for the red Donate button on the top right corner of this page. Look here for volunteer information.
Photo credit: Rebecca Zenefski