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31 congregations, 1,000 volunteers help the homeless in Roanoke Valley

Kim Mitchell never imagined she would be homeless with a 4-year old.
Kim Mitchell never imagined she would be homeless with a 4-year old. (Copyright by WSLS - All rights reserved)

ROANOKE (WSLS 10) - A non-profit called Family Promise of Greater Roanoke provides temporary housing and meals for families with children working with four families at a time. It's made up of 31 congregations and more than one thousand volunteers.

"There are so many wonderful organizations in the city but we aren't working together," said Rabbi Kathy Cohen, Family Promise of Greater Roanoke Board President. "For us to be unified, each to take our own little part to make this successful to bring children out of homelessness into stable environment and the difference it will make in their education and in their ability to have a bright future is just tremendous."

Family Promise is one of the agencies partnering with the United Way RYSE Program to end student homelessness for nearly 600 students in Roanoke.

The non-profit has a case manager who helps them with all of the issues they may have that cause them to be homeless and gets them back into permanent housing.  Classes in financial management help them become more successful.

Kim Mitchell and her 4-year old Roman were clients of Family Promise and are now living on their own.

"To a certain extent the homeless here are hidden homeless and when we join together as a community and we work to make lives better for these families we change the world. We change our community, we change their lives, we change the future," said Rabbi Cohen.

It takes about $8,000 to help a family rise to stability.

RYSE, which stands for Rehousing Youth for Success in Education, is an initiative by the United Way that works with local schools to identify homeless children and put their family on the pathway to self-sufficiency.

On June 29, there'll be three different ways for you to donate and help this cause.

  • Call: Just dial 1-866-975-7697 and you'll be connected to someone in our phone bank who will take your pledge
  • Online: Go to www.uwrv.org/ryseuproanoke to donate
  • Text: Send the message "RYSE" and a dollar amount to 41444. You will then receive a link to fill out an online form. Standard message and data rates apply
  • If you want to donate before the telethon, that's fine too!