In 1994 Karen Olson, CEO of the National Family Promise Program, contacted Father Bill Kenny of Christ the King Catholic Community, to discuss developing an interfaith shelter network in Clark County, Nevada. At that time the number of homeless families in Las Vegas was growing and there were no shelter programs that could provide services to an intact family (father, mother and children). Father Bill Kenny collaborated with Rabbi Sanford Akselrad of Congregation Ner Tamid and Pastor Charles Bowker of Reformation Lutheran to form the network. The Interfaith Shelter Program (IHN) began with 12 congregations signing on as overnight shelters and the Day Center was located at the Catholic Worker House on Van Buren Street in the historic Westside neighborhood. There were 14 people served nightly (up to 4 families).
The model was simple. Congregations signed up to provide one week of overnight shelter, meals and supervision for up to 4 families per week and they would do this 4 different weeks per year. The agency staff trained the volunteers at the congregations to provide hospitality services. Today, this network of Catholic, Jewish, Protestant and Muslim congregations provides well over $300,000 of in-kind services to support the shelter network. It is important to state that Family Promise of Las Vegas is not a religious organization and that our partner shelter congregations do not proselytize.
In 2005 our name changed to Family Promise of Las Vegas to align with the national name change from Interfaith Hospitality Network to Family Promise. This name change better described what we do which is much more than just a shelter. In 2006 our agency moved from our Van Buren site to 320 S. 9th Street in downtown Las Vegas with assistance from then Mayor Oscar Goodman.
In 2009 under the regional leadership of our local Continuum of Care (COC) we began to work together with a coordinated plan to end homelessness as a community. Family Promise of Las Vegas began to expand capacity to serve homeless families by developing and implementing the “Promises to Keep” permanent supportive housing project. This project provided rental assistance and case management for up to 20 previously homeless families that had a head of household with a disability. This project was funded by HUD. We operated this project for 7 years, closing in November of 2016.
In 2010 Family Promise of Las Vegas grew our ability to help more families through a partnership with Credit One Bank and Neighborhood Housing Services of Southern Nevada. This collaboration brought funding to our agency that could be used for rental assistance and we worked with Neighborhood Housing Services of Southern Nevada to match families that needed low income housing options. Our part of the partnership was to continue case management and support services for up to 6 months and assist the families to achieve true independence. This collaboration continues to this day.
From 2010 to present Family Promise of Las Vegas has continued to expand our capacity to serve homeless families and our community. We recognize that our core competency is case management and helping homeless families navigate their path back to a self-sustaining future. By partnering with other non-profit agencies in our community we have helped families to get back to work and achieve important goals that result in their being housing ready. Wood Forest Bank in collaboration with our national office developed a financial management course uniquely tailored to the families we serve. The National Auto Body Council selected Family Promise of Las Vegas as their first partner to implement a Recycled Rides Program dedicated to donating beautiful refurbished vehicles to selected families each year. To date our agency has referred over 60 families to this program.
Over the years we have grown to be more than a place to find shelter. By implementing housing programs that we administer, educational classes and working side by side with other non-profits that administer rental assistance we have grown to be one of Clark County’s most respected non-profit organizations. We are limited now only by our Day Center size and have set out to launch our dream of a larger facility that will meet the needs of the programs we administer. These programs bring families back into their own homes with a plan to achieve independence. To that end, in April, 2018, we relocated our Day Center to a temporary site at 1410 S. Maryland Pkwy., Las Vegas. This will be our home until we complete the construction of the new, permanent building.
The most direct way to support Family Promise is through a financial contribution. 72¢ of every dollar you donate goes to providing services and housing to our families.