BUFFALO, N.Y. (WK\W) — Family Promise of Western New York, an emergency homeless shelter for families experiencing homelessness, now has a permanent
“The model, when we opened in the 80s, was about houses of worship housing and feeding families," executive director of Family Promise of Western New York Luanne Firestone said.
Firestone became the shelter’s director in 2018 and she quickly realized how disruptive moving families around every night could be.
“It was difficult for our families who are use to being in the city, working in the city, to be placed out in the suburbs every night,” she said.
So Family Promise of Western New York rented out the old school behind St. Columba Brigid’s parish and turned it into a shelter.
“We were able to use all the space in this building, so we created six family rooms and that will be up to 31 beds.”
The new home of Family Promise was completely renovated. Each family getting their own bed and room.
“We wanted to judge it like, would we be comfortable here," Firestone said.
But Firestone also says Family Promise of Western New York is more than just a place of shelter. It is also a place of hope. 85% of the families who stay here beat homelessness.
“So there’s a hand print wall and whenever a family finds a place...we put their hand on the wall," Firestone said. "For us its like, yes they were here and this was their home for a little bit. But, it is also to show the next child who comes into the shelter that all of these kids have gotten out of here too."
Family Promise of Western New York is set to re-open August 3 and Firestone says she cannot wait to go back to serving families.
“Your home is really where you love is and that is not lost when you’re going through homelessness.”