As executive director of Family Promise of Hamilton County, Nancy Ramsey said she frequently encounters the misconception that housing insecurity isn’t a problem in the area. The work done by her nonprofit, however, tells a different story, as the Noblesville-based organization helped approximately 250 local families find or keep housing last year.
Formed as a local chapter in May 2019 as an affiliate of the New Jersey-based national organization, Family Promise offers initiatives for families with a child younger than 18 years old that focus on shelter, prevention, diversion and stability to address housing insecurity in the county.
Ramsey said the label housing insecure ranges from being without a home to spending more than 50-60 percent of an income on rent or utilities.
She said another common misconception she hears is that people facing housing insecurity aren’t working hard enough.
“If you’re making anything less than $20 an hour, you cannot afford to live in Hamilton County,” Ramsey said.
The need for the nonprofit’s services has increased as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and rising inflation, according to Family Promise Family Advocate Karly Alvey.
Through the prevention program, Alvey creates a game plan and provides support for those facing eviction from their homes.
“We’ve had multiple families in shelter or in the prevention program that have worked two jobs,” Alvey said. “So (they) aren’t spending that quality time with their kiddo, and that just drives me crazy.”
Because of misconceptions some people have about those facing housing instability, Ramsey said some Hamilton County residents support affordable housing but not near their own homes. She said affordable housing generally looks the same as traditional housing developments.
“A healthy community has housing for everybody across all economic (statuses),” Ramsey said.
Ramsey said it is important for people who work in Hamilton County to be able to live here as well, and she wants more people to join the conversation about housing insecurity.
“It’s so rampant, it’s just everywhere and you don’t typically think of it,” said Amber New, Family Promise outreach coordinator, intake coordinator and employment specialist. “When you’re (in) one of these Westfield or Fishers or whatever high school, you don’t think of all the kids who are hungry going home.”
Family Promise will hold a fundraiser Nov. 5 at Top Golf in Fishers. Attendees can compete in a golf tournament, participate in a silent auction, eat a meal and learn more about Family Promise.
Learn more at fpohc.org or by calling 317-774-5196.
FAMILY PROMISE PROGRAMS
Family Promise offers several programs to assist those facing housing insecurity.
- The shelter program helps families facing housing insecurity find a temporary place to live. The housing is offered in 30-day increments but extensions can be granted on a case-by-case basis.
- The prevention program aims to keep families from experiencing housing instability by offering rental assistance, budgeting and other guidance.
- The diversion program aims to restore housing or identify a place for a family in need of housing to stay without going into a shelter. Participants in the program work with a family advocate to secure attainable housing.
- The stability club helps those who have already participated in one of the other programs continue achieving success after leaving Family Promise. It includes weekly emails, a grocery list and meal planning.