Family Promise, Longtime Homeless Advocates, Get A Home Of Their Own
Splashed with color and drenched in sunlight, the spacious new Family Promise Day Center in a relatively quiet section of Fort Monmouth has been designed to make its homeless guests feel like they’ve arrived home.
The day center is where up to 14 people in the temporary care of Family Promise will spend their days trying to secure a better job or stable housing. Pending approvals from the Oceanport Planning Board, the day center will open in December and become a base of operations for the nonprofit, replacing its current Aberdeen location.
“It’s kind of ironic for us,” said Elaine Young, Family Promise’s board president, a licensed professional counselor who began helping Family Promise when it started in 2001. “There has always been this uncertainty for us – if the rent gets too high we’ll have to find another place, or if they no longer want us, we’ll have to move. We can understand now how our families feel when they finally find a home.”
This month, the Family Promise organization became the official owners of the 2,800-square-foot property on 1.7 acres of land, after paying FMERA $1 for a 99-year lease for Building 501, formerly known as the fort’s counseling center. Family Promise is the beneficiary of a federal rule that decommissioned U.S. Army property must make room available for social organizations serving the homeless.
It is very good news for the organization which has been paying $2,400 a month in rent for the Aberdeen Main Street location for the past two years, after moving four other times. That money can now be put toward a capital reserve fund and other necessities, such as a build-out of two bathrooms to add showers, tweaks to the small kitchen, ADA compliance for both, and large lockers to hold their guest families’ possessions. To date, the organization has raised $105,000 of the $125,000 needed.