Family Promise Rochester Receives Grant to fight Homelessness

(ABC 6 News) — A Rochester non-profit that provides support for families facing homelessness received a large gift this week to continue its work.

The Otto Bremer trust awarded Family Promise Rochester $20,000 as one of the nearly 200 grants totaling $16.6 million. The money will be used for basic necessities of food and shelter and or rent specifically for families experiencing homelessness.

“Everything happening since COVID and evictions, landlords are not willing to rent to families with no rental history or poor rental history so it really is a big problem here in Rochester and all over the country as well,” said Executive Director Erin Sinnwell.

According to data from Olmsted County, the housing department identified 157 people in 2021 experiencing unsheltered homelessness in Rochester.

For the first time the county saw a reduction in the number of people who are being reported homeless. In 2021, 27 percent of people identified as homeless compared to 40 percent in 2020. A stark contrast from 2019 when the county reported 70 percent of people identified as homeless.

Part of the reason these homeless numbers are going down in the county, officials say, is because of organizations like Family Promise Rochester. The non-profit can only support three families at a time. However, about 27 families are currently on the waitlist in need of a place to live.

“A lot of times, families come to us if we are full, there really is no place to go, Dorothy Day will sometimes take families if they have space, the warming shelter and The Landing are awesome, but they are not for families, they are for individuals only so we are really hoping to expand our services,” said Sinnwell.

Family Promise Rochester says it does want to move into a new facilty that can help more families in the future and says grants like this one, makes a difference. Sinnwell says the organization also relies heavily on donations as well as volunteers to run its operations.

If you’d like to help, you can find more information here.