TEMPLE, TX — The name says it all. Family Promise of East Bell County promises those battling homelessness and financial instability a chance at a better life.
“We work with volunteers at churches and the school districts and businesses to help families get back on their feet, work through trauma,” Executive Director Rucker Preston explained. “Make sure they’re financially stable so they don't become homeless again.”
However, like most other organizations, COVID-19 hit them hard, limiting the amount of space and resources for those who sought out their services.
“The worst thing we’ve had to face ever as an organization is telling someone we don’t have space for them,” Preston said. “Which we’ve had to do several times over the past few weeks and months.”
So, after nearly a year of behind-the-scenes planning, the City of Temple was happy to offer a helping hand. After a unanimous decision made by the city council Thursday, the City transferred over two acres of land on S. 24th Street to the organization.
“There aren’t many times as the mayor or even as city leadership where you really get to reach out and help the people who need it the most,” Temple Mayor Tim Davis said.
The Mabee Foundation had the same intentions, offering $200,000 toward the construction of Family Promise of East Bell County's new project, the Promise House, in the form of a challenge grant.
A challenge grant means in order to be rewarded with the money, the organization must raise the remaining $288,000 to start.
“That should give citizens of Temple a good feeling knowing that not only does the City of Temple vet Family Promise, but also the Mabee Foundation, where all they do is fund grants,” the mayor explained.
Preston says they expect to break ground on the project as early as this summer. He says the project is expected to take 10 months to a year to complete.
Once it’s done, he says they’ll be able to accommodate up to seven families. That’s twice the amount of families they serve annually now.
“We’re no better, we’re no worse,” he said. “So, we are right there, locked in arms, hand and hand with the kids who are homeless and the parents who are working really, really hard to get back on their feet.”
The organization is more than halfway to its fundraising goal, but if you'd like to donate, you can click this link to head over to their website.