Subject: Building Bridges and Healing Wounds... Family Promise Summer News

Family Promise Shelter Diversion Program
Building a Bridge from
Homelessness to Hope

Written by:
Tera Michelson

Quarantine is tough under the best of conditions. Imagine being a family of four, confined to a small motel room, scrambling for next week’s rent money. The Diversion Program was initiated at Family Promise of Butler County in May, just in time to assist those families on the verge of homelessness amidst an unpredictable global pandemic. A new approach to homelessness, the pilot program aims to secure permanent housing within 30 days, without exposing families to the trauma of a shelter stay.

Chosen as one of ten nationwide Family Promise affiliates to test the program, Family Promise of Butler County received a $50,000 grant to launch the year-long trial. By breaking down barriers to permanent housing and basic needs for families, the Diversion Program builds a bridge from homelessness to hope. Its primary focus is to reduce the distress children may experience in the aftermath of losing a home, especially teens and those with behavioral challenges.

Since May, six families have been served by the Diversion Program and are now living in safe, affordable housing and receiving up to a year of supportive after-care.

When one local grandmother fell behind on rent and utility bills this spring, she was forced to relocate with three grandchildren to a motel room. Struggling to make weekly payments, she called on Family Promise of Butler County and learned about the assistance the Diversion Program could offer.

“When quarantine started, we felt stuck,” she shares. “I was always behind. No [organizations] would help us with payments, because it wasn’t officially rent at the motel.”

The family’s transition to living in their own apartment hasn’t been easy in these days of Covid-19, but they are now safe and getting settled.

“Family Promise came through for us,” she adds. “Each of my grandkids have rooms of their own. I’m happy and thankful I could move the kids to safety.” 

The Diversion Program benefits families that are near eviction and experiencing any of the many barriers to permanent housing: availability of affordable housing, troubled rental history, mental or physical health issues, lack of transportation and more. With the Diversion Program, Family Promise of Butler County coordinates assistance to overcome and address these concerns and offer a struggling family safety and stability so they can stay together during trying times.

Grandma continues to lead her family with conviction, teaching them important lessons as they journey through this time together.

“I’m blessed. We’re blessed,” she says. “I’m blessed to have these grandkids. We’re not quitters. We all are fighters. We’re strong and we’ll make it through this.” 

Do you know a family that may benefit from Family Promise of Butler County’s Diversion Program? Learn more at

Healing the Wounds of Racism

As a country, we are experiencing turbulent times that have created uncertainty, fear and a general feeling of being overwhelmed. These same worries and fears exist in Butler County too. Here at Family Promise of Butler County, we too are unsure as to what to say or do and are also feeling sad and overwhelmed.

Racism has no place in our society. It is ugly, involves hatred and ruins lives. 

Racial injustice plays a significant role in family homelessness. For families of color, lack of quality education prevents them from being able to attend college or even obtain stable employment. Families who live in fear of being targeted also struggle with mental health issues. At Family Promise of Butler County, 49% of the families we serve are of color. This is a major issue across the country and even here in Butler County.

So, what can we do to help comfort those who are feeling shut out and heal the wounds of those who have been injured by racism?

First and foremost, we need to listen, and educate ourselves on the issues surrounding racism. I know that I don’t know what it feels like to be judged by the color of my skin. So, while I am empathetic to the concerns, I truly don’t understand them. I have decided to have significant conversations with my friends who are of color and to really listen to what they have to say. I am being very intentional with this. I am also reading books and articles that explore this issue. I just finished reading White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo and watched the movie The Hate You Give. Both have given me some great insight.

We need to speak out against injustices. Everyone deserves to be heard, and treated fairly, with dignity and respect. Maya Angelou tells us, “Develop enough courage so that you can stand up for yourself, and then stand up for someone else.” This is our time to be courageous and stand up for others.

Finally, we must love. By loving others, we can begin to understand what it is like to walk in their shoes, to know how they feel, and then be able to stand with them. Love covers so many obstacles and brings us closer to those around us.

I want to encourage each and every one of you to step out of your comfort zone, be courageous and stand up for what’s right. Remember, love wins every time!


We're Hiring! 
Part-time Van Driver

We are in need of a part-time van driver:

  • Monday through Friday 4:30 - 6:00 pm. 

  • Responsibilities include transporting our families to their overnight host congregation.

  • Qualified applicants must have a clean driving record, clean background check and pass a drug test.

If you or anyone you know is interested in one or both of these positions, please have them email Linda at with their resume. CDL is not required. Thank you!

Day Center Needs

The following items are for graduated families to set up their new homes with and should be new:
  • mops/buckets
  • brooms/dust pans
  • pot & pan sets
  • vinyl shower curtains and shower curtain rings
  • nylon cooking utensils
  • plastic clothing hangers
  • trash cans
  • plastic sets of cups
  • fans
We are also in need of the following for use at the day center:
  • floor cleaner
  • diapers (sizes 4 & 5)
If you can provide any of these items, you can drop them off at the Day Center at: 19 S. Front Street, Hamilton or contact Linda at 513-444-2033.

Host Congregation 
"Family Promise at 
Dot's House"
Written by:
Laura Leavitt

Stephanie Roberts is the coordinator for “Family Promise at Dot’s House,” a ministry that draws volunteers from the Catholic Churches of Hamilton, including St. Julie’s, St. Peter’s, and St. Joseph’s parishes.

Roberts and her team of around 80 volunteers host families experiencing homelessness in a house building on the St. Julie’s property that used to be a home for a priest. They gave the building the name Dot’s House in honor of an important woman (pictured above) martyred while serving the poor.

“The building is named after Dorothy Stang,” explains Roberts. “She was part of the Sisters of Notre Dame and was serving people in Brazil when she was assassinated.”
The selfless spirit of Dorothy Stang lives on in the volunteers who prepare the house for guests, cook meals, and keep the families company.

“I’ve always had good participation,” says Roberts. “Family Promise is a good way to feel like you’re helping people, pointing them in the right direction.”

Because the three parishes have participated in Family Promise of Butler County since the very beginning, they have plenty of insight to share with new congregations or interested churches looking to get involved.

“In order to get volunteers involved, the only way is to genuinely reach out and share my experiences and try to touch hearts that way,” says Roberts. “Volunteers are key to the program; I do a lot but I get a lot of help too.”

She also knows that the system can seem a little complicated at first, and she was able to have an experience early on that helped her prepare.

“One thing I did that was very helpful was shadowing a coordinator in Warren County, where they already had Family Promise,” says Roberts. “Shadowing her helped me have a good feel for what the program entailed.”

Roberts and the volunteer team with Catholic Churches of Hamilton are instrumental in showing hospitality to the families who participate in Family Promise of Butler County; we’re grateful to have them as long-time veterans who can help show others great ways to coordinate a Family Promise experience.

Learn how your church can partner with Family Promise to end homelessness. Contact Linda at 513-444-2033.
We would like to thank Susan, one of our host coordinator's for participating in Family Promise National's campaign "Night Without a Bed". Susan slept in her car for the night. She states it was very uncomfortable, but definitely was worth the experience so that she now has an idea of what some of our families go through. Way to go Susan for stepping out of the box!

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Thank you for participating in Dot Dash 2020!

In May we hosted our 3rd Annual (but first "virtual"...) Dot Dash! The event was a huge success, thank you to so many generous people stepping up and stepping out to walk and/or sponsor a walker. Thanks to all who participated in any way, we raised over $13,000 to help connect the dots so every child has a safe and healthy home. 

If you weren't following along on Facebook, here are some images from our Dot-to-Dot challenge and "Where's Roderick?" as well as an image (pictured above) of the fabulous dot-to-dot lovingly created by Addison, a board member's 13-year old granddaughter!
Family Promise of Butler County is a 501(3)(c) non-profit charity.  
Donations are tax deductible.
Thank you for your continued support!

PO Box 95, Hamilton, OH 45011, United States
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