learn about our history

About Us

About

Fort Bend
Family Promise

The problem is so well-hidden that people often are shocked to learn about the growing number of homeless families in Fort Bend County. Based on a University of Texas study, there are between 6,000 and 9,000 homeless in Fort Bend in any given year, and nearly half are children seeking shelter with their families.

Housing, healthcare and other costs are soaring, and many low income families are just a paycheck away from losing their homes. Common causes of episodic homelessness are job loss, illness, injury, foreclosure, divorce and natural disaster.

Many people think of homelessness as “someone else’s problem,” but it carries both a financial and societal cost to everyone in a community. FBFP mobilizes an interfaith network of local congregations to help families regain their housing, their independence and their dignity. Utilizing existing church facilities, our committed volunteers provide safe overnight shelter, meals and support for a week at a time.

Our Housing Navigator helps each family develop an individualized plan to attain safe, affordable housing and develop the confidence and skills they need to achieve long-term independence.

FBFP also assists hundreds of other individuals each year through referrals and partnerships with other local social service agencies and resources. Together, we are providing cost effective solutions to complex problems.

The Mission of Fort Bend Family Promise is to meet the immediate needs

of homeless families while empowering them to attain self-sufficiency.

Our Mission

Our Vision

We envision an informed community where coordinated resources of many

organizations and individuals meet the immediate needs of families in crises,

and where throughout Fort Bend County, families experiencing homelessness

are equipped and empowered for safe, independent living.

All homeless families in Fort Bend County that meet program criteria have access to the services of Fort Bend Family Promise.

All clients have immediate needs met upon entering the program.

The public of Fort Bend County effectively refers families in crisis to Fort Bend Family Promise and supports the program.

All clients are effectively evaluated and presented an individualized program that helps prepare them for self-sufficiency.

All clients effectively apply the skills and/or knowledge from the program to be successfully self-sufficient upon completion.

Ongoing relationships with organizations (public & private, profit & non-profit) in Fort Bend County allow Fort Bend Family Promise to achieve its mission in a cost effective manner.

The public in Fort Bend County is well-informed about the facts and realities of homelessness in our service area.

Outcome Statements

"It was a great concept in my mind -- to organize faith-based groups to help the homeless without large expenditures of public (tax) funds."

Duane McCullough

remember the past

Our History

After retiring from Paine Webber/UBS in 2003, FBFP Founder Duane McCullough was looking for something to keep him busy. He saw an interesting ad in the paper and responded. “To this day, I have no idea why I was looking in that section of the paper!” McCullough exclaims.

Turns out the ad was for what is now Family Promise. The organization was looking for a person to volunteer as a VISTA (Volunteers In Service To America), sometimes called the Domestic Peace Corps. President John F. Kennedy came up with the idea for VISTA, which has been on the front lines in the fight against poverty in America for nearly 50 years. Many of the best-known anti-poverty programs, including Head Start and Upward Bound, were created by VISTA members. McCullough’s position entailed working in the South Texas area to establish Interfaith Hospitality Network Chapters.

“It was a great concept in my mind — to organize faith-based groups to help the homeless without large expenditures of public (tax) funds. The name was not changed to Family Promise until a year or so later,” recalls McCullough.

McCullough began calling on congregations from Baytown to Corpus Christi to create interest in the concept. Since he lived in Sugar Land, the Fort Bend area was his home turf. When he completed his VISTA tour, he began to work full time on the Fort Bend program.

“I was blessed to have a very positive response early on from several pastors, including Steve Quill at New Hope Lutheran, Jerry Hurst at Southminster Presbyterian, Tom Pace and Jeff McDonald at Christ United Methodist and others from area congregations. Just as important was the enthusiasm for the program from lay people like Lyn Storm and the Coltharps of First Methodist Missouri City, Jim Uschkrat from New Hope and many others.”

The group began having meetings of interested people from various churches in late 2003 and made visits to Family Promise chapters that were already operating in Conroe and the 1960 area of Houston. The visits created more excitement, and seven congregations were soon willing to host and get the program started.

Fundraising was tough early on because Family Promise was an unknown start up. Critical to being able to begin operations was determining where the program would be housed. New Hope Lutheran Church generously offered space on their campus, and that has been the home of Fort Bend Family Promise since the first day. Lyn Storm volunteered to be the first Managing Director, and this was a real leap of faith! It was because of her dedication, hard work and long hours that we were ever able to get started and succeed.

In order to speed our development, the founders entered into an agreement with East Fort Bend Human Needs Ministry (EFB) to help get launched and to add some instant credibility. This helped, and with their assistance, existing 501 c3 and good wishes (no funds) FBFP launched on Valentine’s Day in 2005.

FBFP spun off from EFB after about a year. With the generous help of our congregations, the George Foundation and other organizations, and with the enthusiastic support of our annual golf tournament and many prayers, FBFP has been able to expand and flourish in a manner the founders could hardly imagine in their humble beginnings. None of this could have been accomplished without the dedication, faith and hard work of the many volunteers that have made all of this possible.

FBFP was helped immensely in getting launched by the donation of a used Windstar Ford Van from the Brown family of New Hope Lutheran Church. The van was in remarkable shape and solved our initial transportation needs.

The founding Hosting Congregations were:

  • New Hope Lutheran Church – Missouri City
  • Southminster Presbyterian Church – Missouri City
  • First Presbyterian Church – Sugar Land
  • First Presbyterian Church – Rosenberg
  • First United Methodist Church – Missouri City
  • First United Methodist Church – Sugar Land
  • Christ United Methodist Church – Sugar Land

The beginning Support Congregations were:

  • Colony Creek Community Church
  • Congregation Beth El
  • Thoreau United Universalist
  • St. Laurence Catholic Church

Since 2005, FBFP has served hundreds of our Fort Bend neighbors, meeting the families’ immediate needs, but also helping them find permanent housing and address the issues that led to their homelessness.

Our Programs

Day Center

After a decade of helping displaced families get back into homes, Fort Bend Family Promise moved into a home of its own in January 2017.


The 4,000-square-foot building at 4645 Cartwright Road in Missouri City replaced the previous Center that was located in donated space at New Hope Lutheran Church. Fort Bend Family Promise is the first of 189 Family Promise affiliates across the country to design and build a Day Center from the ground up.

Founded in 2005, FBFP is the only organization in Fort Bend County that helps meet the immediate needs of homeless families while empowering them to attain self-sufficiency. The organization focuses on keeping families together and is unique in using an interfaith network of 17 area congregations who help feed and house the families.

“Construction of the Day Center was truly a community collaboration,” said FBFP Board Member John Tipton. “We couldn’t have begun to tackle this project without our donors, volunteers and the help of HomeAid Houston, Arte Architecture, builder Long Lake Ltd. and all the vendors that provided free or discounted materials and labor to help provide a quality building at the lowest cost.”

The vision for the building was formulated by board members in 2011 and a location search led to the purchase of an acre of land on Cartwright Road. Major donors for the land and building construction include the Baxter Trust, Fluor Foundation, Fort Bend Junior Service League, The George Foundation, Madison Charitable Foundation, Inc. and Wynn & Mary Geiger Foundation. Other funding came from local businesses, community members and proceeds from an annual golf tournament.

In addition, a number of incredibly dedicated partners stepped forward to help with in-kind services. A few of those include Asset Plus Companies which painted the interior of the building, University Furnishings which provided furniture and Mark ZumMallen of BSA Troop 441 who created a Memorial Garden behind the Day Center as his Eagle Project.

Sergio Astorga, Designer and Project Manager, and Emerson Jones Jr., Architect, with Arte Architecture, worked with FBFP to design a warm and welcoming environment for the guest families. The Center offers relaxation and lounging areas for families to gather, as well as lockers, laundry facilities, family-friendly bathrooms and storage space where families can safely store items. The accessible building also includes space for administrative and counseling staff, a meeting area and a computer lab families can use for homework, job searches or other needs.

The families gather in the morning at the Day Center to prepare lunches for their children, get them on their school buses, prepare for work or a day spent looking for employment. Each evening, the families travel to one of the organization’s host congregations for dinner and an overnight stay.

FBFP Executive Director Vera L. Johnson said, “We are so grateful to our interfaith network, our volunteers and every single person who contributed to the Day Center. Fort Bend Family Promise has made great strides in our first ten years. We’ve helped a lot of low income families escape the cycle of homelessness, but we are still working hard to generate awareness and support.”

Families now make up around 40% of the homeless population and one out of every four homeless individuals is a child! An astonishing 624 students in Fort Bend ISD alone were identified as homeless in 2013-14, and this number represents only one of the five school districts served by FBFP.There are also many more who are “hidden homeless” — staying temporarily with friends or family or in motels — and not recognized in that number.

Youth Empowerment Program

Youth Empowerment Program

YEP! (Youth Empowerment Planning) program engages young people experiencing homelessness along with their family members through community-based education, mainstream services, mentoring, college preparation and enrichment programs to help them develop skills and strengthen ties to family and community.

YEP! CORE VALUES

RESPECT - YEP! believes all people have value and should be treated with dignity. ACCOUNTABILITY - YEP! is responsible to its participants, families, community, donors, and stakeholders. INTEGRITY - YEP! is honest and sincere. PROGRESS - YEP! believes in ongoing learning and innovation. KINDNESS - YEP! is caring and generous. AT YEP! we believe it is an economic and moral imperative to create new opportunities for our young people, many of whom are eager to engage and take on new challenges, but haven't yet been able to figure out how. In an effort to inspire short and long-term change, we are working harder and smarter than ever to offer meaningful programs and ensure a smooth transition to post-YEP! adult roles. In a changing economy and in the face of the statistics above, we take hear: The new connections we see for YEP! participants are powerful and fundamentally life-changing. And while this work is incredibly difficult, YEP! staff, supporters and participants are optimistic, driven, and empowered.

We Will Help You Every Step Of The Way

Fort Bend Family Promise provides shelter, meals and comprehensive support to families without homes.

What we do

FAQS

Every morning, guest families utilize our Day Center in Missouri City. The Day Center provides guest families with access to laundry and shower facilities, computers and Internet access. They can store their belongings and have a physical address to assist with job searches. It’s also where they work with a case manager to develop an individualized plan to regain housing and self-sufficiency.

Each evening, our Family Promise van transports guest families to that week’s hosting congregation where volunteers welcome them as guests into their church, providing them with meals, hospitality and overnight accommodations. There are currently about twelve host congregations in our network that host for one week at a time on a rotating basis. We also have supporting congregations that provide family support in a variety of ways.

Family Promise works closely with families to resolve all the obstacles they need to overcome to return to independence and self-sufficiency. After a needs assessment, families are connected to the appropriate resources available in Fort Bend County. Family Promise guest families receive:

  • Overnight accommodations at a local congregation
  • Dinner provided daily by a local congregation
  • Intensive case management
  • Family Day Center/office with internet access, guest phone, laundry and showers
  • Transportation assistance to school, work, etc.
  • Social support from volunteers
  • Linkage with needed social and educational services
The Family Promise model of care costs 1/3 less to operate than shelters. Through the generosity and dedication of our volunteers and local host congregations, every dollar donated is matched by more than $3 of in-kind goods and services!

Myths

1 – Families in the program spend the night in the Day Center building.

2 – There are several shelters that support homeless families in Fort Bend County.

3 – Family Promise receives funding from the national Family Promise organization.

4 – Family Promise does not need a Day Center in order to fulfill program needs.

5 – Most of the adults who enter the Family Promise program are unemployed.

6 – Family Promise struggles to help large numbers of families.

7 – Families in the program are primarily from the neighborhood surrounding the current Day Center.

Realities

1 – Families DO NOT spend the night at the Day Center. Overnight accommodations are provided at the host congregations, or when necessary, at a motel.

2 – Fort Bend Family Promise is the only organization that shelters homeless families in Fort Bend County.

3 – The national Family Promise office provides ideas and resources, but Fort Bend Family Promise is financially independent.

4 – Family Promise was housed in an older building for 10 years that the owners needed to demolish. Because of this, FBFP chose to build a Day Center in 2016. It was fully funded through donations.

5 – 90% of adults in the program have jobs.Most families have never been homeless before. Typically, an unexpected event (loss of a job, illness or family crisis) is the catalyst for a family losing their home.

6 – The Family Promise program is successful because of the intensive case management families receive. In 2017, 41 homeless families (152 members – 99 of them children) entered the Housing Program and 97% obtained permanent housing. While the number of families in the Housing Program is limited by space constraints, FBFP also provided over 1,100 referrals to at-risk & homeless families last year.

7 – In 2017, 32% of the families in the Housing Program were from Missouri City with an equal number from Richmond/Rosenberg. The rest were from throughout Fort Bend County. FBFPworks closely with the school districts to assist children identified as homeless.

Every morning, guest families utilize our Day Center in Missouri City. The Day Center provides guest families with access to laundry and shower facilities, computers and Internet access. They can store their belongings and have a physical address to assist with job searches. It’s also where they work with a case manager to develop an individualized plan to regain housing and self-sufficiency.

Each evening, our Family Promise van transports guest families to that week’s hosting congregation where volunteers welcome them as guests into their church, providing them with meals, hospitality and overnight accommodations. There are currently about twelve host congregations in our network that host for one week at a time on a rotating basis. We also have supporting congregations that provide family support in a variety of ways.

Family Promise works closely with families to resolve all the obstacles they need to overcome to return to independence and self-sufficiency. After a needs assessment, families are connected to the appropriate resources available in Fort Bend County. Family Promise guest families receive:

  • Overnight accommodations at a local congregation
  • Dinner provided daily by a local congregation
  • Intensive case management
  • Family Day Center/office with internet access, guest phone, laundry and showers
  • Transportation assistance to school, work, etc.
  • Social support from volunteers
  • Linkage with needed social and educational services

Are we right for you?

Need Help?

Is your family – or someone you know — facing a housing crisis due to a foreclosure, loss of lease or other causes? If so, Fort Bend Family Promise may be able to help. In trying to determine if our program is right for you, consider that FBFP is designed to help:

Adults with children under age 18.

Fort Bend County residents.

Families capable of participating in a family environment supervised by volunteers.

FBFP accepts families regardless of race or religion.

Guidelines for Admission:

Completion of criminal background screen

No chemical dependencies

No untreated mental health issues

No active domestic violence

Must pose no threat to other Family Promise families or volunteers

Must be willing to follow Family Promise Client Guidelines

Families may call for an assessment appointment during regular business hours. There is no fee for services. The Day Center is located at 1424 FM 1092 in Missouri City and is open daily from 6 am to 7 pm.  If you have questions, please contact us at 281-403-3293.

School District Links

Students in Fort Bend experiencing homelessness may also find assistance through their school district. Here are links to the appropriate page on Fort Bend School District websites.

Church Network

FBFP is people of faith working together to provide homeless families with HELP for today and HOPE for tomorrow. FBFP mobilizes churches in Fort Bend County to host families after the Day Center closes for the evening. We welcome all types of congregations to join our church network because we can all agree that children in our community should not have to worry about where they will sleep each night.

While at the churches, families are provided with an evening meal and a room with beds and bedding. Volunteers from the congregation share dinner with the families and provide overnight, on-site support with a spirit of warmth and hospitality.

In this environment, clients are able to maintain their dignity and privacy as the church becomes their temporary home. The kindness from these congregations helps diminish the hurt of homelessness in an environment where both volunteers and clients can grow and learn from one another.

Host Congregations

Hosting rotates weekly among our host congregations. Once a quarter (four times each year), each host congregation provides overnight housing, dinner and hospitality to homeless children and their families.

Host congregations must have enough space to host three to four separate families — up to fourteen people — at a time. FBFP provides inflatable beds, with most congregations setting up their educational or activity rooms as temporary bedrooms for each of the guest families. Showers and laundry facilities are available at our Family Day Center, so it’s not necessary for congregations to have these amenities.

FBFP has a van and driver to transport guest families to and from the Day Center and hosting congregation. Families depart about 5:30 am to return to the Day Center so children can catch the school bus and parents go to their jobs or work with the case manager to find jobs and housing. Guest families stay with Family Promise until they find permanent housing as long as they follow the guidelines of program, with families currently staying an average of about 35 days.

FBFP does not accept guest families actively using illegal substances or with felony convictions or serious mental illness, and all guest families receive a criminal background check.

 

Get Involved

Wondering if your congregation could become a host or support congregation? Speak with the clergy or missions committee at your congregation and contact us to schedule a meeting or discussion to provide additional details. We’re always in need of additional congregations, and would be happy to hear from you.

Contact us

Vera Johnson, Executive Director [email protected] (281) 403-3923

Support Congregations

Support congregations provide off-site support in a variety of ways – from financial support to assisting a host congregation with meals to supporting guest families as they transition into permanent homes. There are many opportunities for congregations of all sizes to join in the mission to get displaces families back to lasting independence.

Current Host Congregations

Current Supporting Congregations

Our Donors

Fort Bend Family Promise is funded through the generosity of individual donors, church congregations, foundations and local businesses. We do not receive funding from the National Family Promise organization.
 We would like to extend special thanks to the following for their financial support:

Albert & Ethel Hersztein Charitable Foundation

The Baxter Trust

The Bridge Fellowship Church

The Children’s Fund

Chipotle – Sugar Land

Constellation Community Champions

NALCO Champion – an Ecolab Company

Egbert Family Foundation

El Pollo Loco

Fort Bend Cares

Fort Bend Family Promise Coffee Club Members

Fort Bend Family Promise Host & Support Congregations

Fort Bend Junior Service League

The George Foundation

Greater Houston Builders Association/HomeAid Houston  

Gulf Coast Medical Foundation

Help Us Move In (HUMI)

Henderson-Wessendorf Foundation

Hildebrand Foundation

Houston Endowment Inc.

Houston Tidelanders Chorus

Keller Williams Southwest

National Christian Foundation Houston

Niagra Bottling

Tri-City Women’s Club 

Woodforest Charitable Foundation

Learn All About Our Staff & Board

Meet Our Staff

Vera L. Johnson

Executive Director

Yvonne Pratt

Executive Program Assistant

Alice Hallgren

Transportation Program Assistant

Etta Vincent

Associate Director

Dianne Williams

YEP! Program Assistant

Katherine Malveaux

Transportation Program Assistant

Lucy Broussard

Executive Program Assistant

Ruby J. Osborne

Housing Navigator Program Assistant

Yvonne Wade

YEP! Program Assistant

Board of Trustees

Members of our Board of Trustees are selected from our local community and serve staggered terms of three years. Our Board provides a broad range of expertise that has been critical to our organization’s success, but each brings a personal commitment to helping homeless families.

Mike Brown

President

Jim Uschkrat

Vice President

Ed Brasher

Treasurer

John Tipton

Board of Trustees

Tim Quill

Board of Directors

Raquel Smith

Secretary

Amy Lansford

Interim Secretary

Karen Jennings

Board of Trustees

Doug Earl

Board of Directors

Latrease Price-Gistard

Board of Directors

Lauren North

Board of Directors

Financials

As a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, the Board and Executive Director of Fort Bend Family Promise holds our responsibility to our donors, supporters, volunteers, churches, guests and community as critical to our mission.

It is our goal to provide transparency in our governance and operations, while respecting the privacy of our guests and of those donors and volunteers who request it.