A homeless family needs more than a safe place to sleep. Achieving sustained independence means building up a sturdy safety net around the family to provide nourishment, job counseling, housing referrals, and transportation while they get “back on their feet.”

Family Promise of Moore County is a vital link that provides housing, meals and a hand up to homeless women and their children. Established in 1999 as the Sandhills Interfaith Hospitality Network, the nonprofit has always leaned on its founding from within the local faith community.

Newly appointed Executive Director Peggy Hendrix stepped into her role in mid-June following in the footsteps of longtime director Susan Bellew. She recalls her first introduction to the organization was as a volunteer on behalf of First Baptist Church of Southern Pines.

Hendrix would wash all of the linens for families and also helped out with evening meals. At the time, Family Promise operated on a rotating schedule bringing clients for weekly stays at participating area churches.

“Family Promise always had my heart,” Hendrix said. “When I saw that Susan was leaving, I said okay. It’s time to go and try this.”

Hendrix is more familiarly known in the community for her work with the Boys and Girls Club of the Sandhills. She served on staff for nine years, recently stepping down as chief financial officer. She also spent a number of years working for Young Life of the Sandhills, and she and her husband formerly owned a used car business in Fayetteville.

In 2016, Family Promise dedicated a repurposed, large family home where all of its functions are managed. Located on just over an acre of land on Saunders Boulevard in Aberdeen, the house provides space for up to four families — each having the privacy of a bedroom — with a shared communal living and dining room and fenced backyard. School-age children are provided with backpacks, school supplies and transportation each day. Families may stay for up to 90 days.

Volunteers continue to fill an invaluable role by assisting with meals, socializing with families in the evenings, and overnight stays during the week. Hendrix also oversees the small staff that includes a part-time case manager, part-time program aides, and an overnight host on weekends.

“We are typically full and we have a waiting list to get in,” Hendrix said. “When we run out of space, we try to provide information and resources on other facilities. But it’s so hard right now to find a place.”

Often, if a homeless family is staying with relatives or have another temporary living arrangement, Hendrix said the best advice is to stay put.

“(Housing) prices are going through the roof and I don’t know what our families are going to do,” Hendrix said, noting that two recent clients had to move outside of Moore County to find affordable places to live.

“I mean, you look around at these little houses that a year ago might have fallen into a price that was affordable. Now they are renting for $1,300 a month. How is someone earning minimum wage or even $10 an hour, with a family, able to afford that?”

For more information about volunteering or making a donation to Family Promise of Moore County, visit www.fpofmc.org.

Article published in The Pilot August 31,2021

Laura Douglas  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.