Emergency Shelter Program
FPE provides temporary emergency housing through a network of approximately 36 faith-based congregations in Essex County. These congregations host three or four families (up to 14 people) for a week at a time from 6 pm to 7 am during the week, and all day on the weekends. They arrange for sleeping and relaxation areas, with volunteers from the congregational membership providing meals, activities, and overnight supervision. Families are transported by FPE’s van to and from the congregations. During the day, our professional social services staff provides ongoing case management and programming at our Family Resource Center in Montclair. This includes social/emotional guidance, goal setting, and referrals to assist in finding housing and jobs. The Center is also available for access to phones, computers and shower facilities.
If you are interested in volunteering in the network, please contact Melissa Perales for more information.
Our Host Congregations
Family Promise Essex is privileged to have a dedicated network of congregations that provide emergency shelter, hospitality and meals in their houses of worship. During a host congregation’s week, volunteers come together to perform the various tasks needed to turn their house of worship into a comfortable home for their guests.
If you would like more information on how your congregation can become a host site, please contact Melissa Perales.
Does your family need emergency shelter?
Are you and your children in need of shelter? Family Promise Essex provides shelter, meals, transportation, and supportive services for families experiencing homelessness. The program is a partnership with faith communities throughout Essex County. Our program is unique in that we do not split up families. Dads and boys are able to remain with their families, keeping the family unit strong.
How The Program Works
FPE is able to meet the emergency needs of families through the hard work of a small staff and over 800 volunteers. Instead of living at a fixed-site shelter, families — up to three or four at a time — stay each week at a different church or synagogue in Family Promise Essex. Congregations usually convert religious education or meeting rooms into private or semi-private bedrooms for each family. Volunteers provide breakfast, bag lunches, and a home-cooked dinner every day. Access to shower and laundry facilities are also provided.
During the day, if family members aren’t at school or work, they can come to our Family Resource Center in Montclair, N.J., to use our computers and to meet with their case manager to create an achievable vision and develop a strong foundation for self-sufficiency. FPE provides van service between the host congregations and the FPE Family Resource Center.
All guests accepted into the program may be eligible to receive phone and Internet access; assistance with housing and employment searches; opportunities for job training; day care assistance; and budget management, credit counseling, and parenting and nutrition workshops.
FPE is set up to be a temporary resource to you and your family while you continue to go about your daily schedules and work toward self-reliance. This may include assistance with: finding a place to live; looking for work; applying for social services; training or acquiring education for a job/career; saving money; and paying off debts to correct credit ratings.
FPE has guest guidelines that every family is expected to follow. Additionally, families must meet regularly with an FPE case manager to establish a realistic plan of action and to report progress on the goals from their service plan. Initial admission is for 30 days. If families complete goals that were made with their case manager and adhere to the guest guidelines, FPE may extend the stay to a maximum of 90 days.
How to Apply
An adult member of the family can email or call and speak with a case manager for an initial phone screening. Depending on availability, the family will be contacted for a face-to-face interview. If the family meets program criteria, the family will be invited into the program. This process can take 24–72 hours.
Does your family need assistance?
- Does your family need shelter?
- Are you looking for prevention or stabilization services?
- Do your children need an after school program?