Family Promise opening new facility for homeless families

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BRYAN, Tex. (KBTX) - Homelessness is a growing problem in our community and options are limited for families looking for a place to stay that takes kids. One local organization has a new facility that's working to give families some stability as they get back on their feet.

The rooms are ready at Family Promise's new facility on West MLK Jr. Street in Bryan. There's room for up to 24 people at a time.

“We are a 90 day program for the families. They come through here to get settled first of all and to find jobs," said Phebe Simmons, the Executive Director of Family Promise.

"Right now, one family would be in here, but eventually two families will share a room," Simmons said, as she showed News 3 one of the bedrooms.

"The smaller the family the more families we can fit," said Simmons. She says homelessness can be caused by any number of reasons.

"Single parents, that's a common theme. They lose the major transportation, they lose the job, a major illness. Any of those things could start spiraling down to being at our door," said Simmons.

“In Bryan / College Station it is a hidden sight. You don’t typically see the homeless like you do in the bigger cities. But the children are doubled up, tripled up, living in relative's homes, friend's homes. Sometimes in cars and hotels but every year the number has grown," said Simmons.

The agency has been fighting homelessness in B/CS for nearly ten years. Local churches and organizations used to host families. Now, the volunteers and families will come here.

"We do focus on the children and so families with children under the age of 18 participate in this program. And it's pretty rigorous we have everyday something to do but it's to help the families be self-sufficient as they leave this program," she said.

The building was also designed with kids in mind. That's because it used to be an elementary school years ago.

"I get statistics from the school districts and last year at the end of the school year we're close to 1,000 homeless children in the Bryan / College Station area," said Simmons.

"Right now we have families on the wait list waiting to get in for the opening day and we are talking to families daily," she added.

They are able to provide housing for about 100 to 125 families a year but reach many others through outreach efforts. They'll start hosting families in about two weeks. Local churches and organizations helped decorate the rooms. Family Promise has a long term lease for the building.

If you are interested in helping volunteer you can contact them at (979) 268-4309.

Bryan ISD tells us as of Thursday they have around 450 students experiencing homelessness. College Station ISD reports 170 students considered homeless in their district.