Family Promise is the leading family homeless service provider in the country. There are over 200 Family Promise affiliates nationwide! Check out the national website below for more details.
Family Promise of Western New York was founded 25 years ago by faith communities who offered families experiencing homelessness the gift of hospitality.
In 1994, Family Promise of WNY began as the "Interfaith Hospitality Network of Greater Buffalo." We are an affiliate in a national hospitality organization with the mission of helping families experiencing homelessness achieve sustainable independence through a community-based response. The organization originally developed utilizing a rotational model where faith communities offered meals and overnight accommodations in collaboration with a Day Center that would help with case management during business hours.
Regionally, the organization came to Western New York when Reverend Daniel Weir, the then Director of the Erie County Commission on Homelessness, arranged for various clergy from Erie County to meet with the national Interfaith Hospitality Network in 1993. Interested clergy and congregational members worked diligently throughout the next several years to create the Interfaith Hospitality Network of Greater Buffalo (IHNGB). A Board of Trustees was formed and IHNGB was incorporated in December of 1994.
The following eleven congregations committed to becoming founding host sites:
In 2018, after over 20 years of operating in Erie County, the Family Promise Board of Trustees engaged in a Program Review with Dr. Diane Bessel from the Daemen School of Social Work to test our rotational model against best practices of trauma-informed care. We found that our model, which required moving families every day, conflicted with the first principle of trauma-informed care - safety. Following that review, the board decided to actively pursuing changing our model from rotational to static.
In 2019, Family Promise of WNY raised $250,000 to renovate our facility at 75 Hickory Street. In March of 2020, we stopped serving families in order to be able to complete critical renovations to our facility. Our renovations also allowed us to double our capacity, increasing from serving 3-6 families at a time. In September of 2020, we re-opened to the community as a static-site shelter and the FIRST New York State certified shelter in Erie County.
Over the years, we've partnered with hundreds of faith communities across Erie County.
Today, Family Promise of Western New York has grown into a thriving, single-site shelter. And while our engagement with faith communities has changed, their legacy of support continues to
keep our program strong.