Welcome to the new Family Promise of Greater Chattanooga homepage. We’re currently undergoing an upgrade, so what you see might appear a little rough at times, but rest assured all the links are active, and you can still learn about the plight of homeless families in Chattanooga, and what you can do to help eliminate it.

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  • We are so proud of you both!

    Photos of Family Promise of Greater Chattanooga
    Proud to represent Family Promise today at the National Conference of Undergraduate Research in Spokane, Washington. — with Summer Wittmer.
  • Our case managers are hard at work re-developing the case management programs! Exciting updates to come soon!

  • A wonderful post about our community! Join us today!


    Craig Joel

    So I was talking to a friend going through some tough times the other day and being a bit of a pacer when it comes to phone calls, I walked down the hallway.As the conversation continued, I walked outside.That walk turned into a walk around the block down Peeples Street - the kind of street only known to two types of folks.. Cops and the homeless. And when I came upon these railroad tracks... I just kept walking ("Officer Gump," right?).I came to work that morning planning on addressing the usual batch of morning administrative issues, and maybe populating some spreadsheets and perhaps even finally hanging up the pictures that have sat at the base of the walls for a month now. Instead, I ended up walking down arguably the loneliest stretch of railroad tracks in this city while listening to a friend trying to get healthy, and when the conversation ended along those same tracks I turned back and ended up meeting the occupants as they started emerging from their tents.You don't get a lot of foot patrols through there so they were apprehensive... but friendly. We spoke. I asked if they were having any problems I could help with concerning their fellow indigenous peoples, and eventually we laughed.From there I ended up walking back with them to the Community Kitchen a few blocks away. I stepped into the store where I had donated my father's worldly possessions after he passed and wondered if any of those clothes we're still on the racks as I walked past... I could hardly breathe. An employee struck up a conversation and I mentioned the bit about his clothing, and how appropriate it was for him to give the shirt off of his back in death as he had in life, and she told me she had done the same thing with her husbands clothes when he passed... And her sons clothing, when he died -too-. I clenched my jaw and tried to hold it back, but it turned out I was as good at resisting tears as she was. We smiled.)I spent the next 3 hours out in front of the community kitchen just talking to people. Human beings. It was wonderful. Beth was 31 and had been living in a tent a few blocks away through the winter ("tarps placed on the side where the rain was hitting heaviest would keep ice from forming most of the time") but had finally gotten a roof over her head in St Elmo thanks to this place. She said she had always known she was just a few paychecks away from homelessness, but never believed it would actually happen. Mouse was living in his car off of East Main but was getting work as a day laborer and had high hopes of also getting an apartment soon (if he found enough room mates). He was a felon so even temp agencies couldn't find him work, he said. What was he supposed to do? Phillip was a diagnosed schizophrenic and had no access to medication, he explained, while sprinkling the prepackaged seasoning powder on a chunk of uncooked ramen noodles he was eating out of the package. (We compared recipes, but I balked at the idea of putting peanut butter and jelly on the uncooked noodles, I confess.)He likes it here because they had a shower and of course it was his only source of food. He was praising the city because of the generosity of its people... He said Colorado was close and Michigan was a nightmare, but if you're going to be down on your luck this city is the best place to be because the strangers are nicest here.None of them have ever had a conversation with a police officer despite the dozens of interactions they had had as a matter of business over the years. And none of them had ever heard a cop laugh except at their expense.Legal advice was sought by the bushel. Stories on how they got there and the comedies and tragedies they countered since then were traded... Cigarettes were hand rolled and backpacks with their worldly belongings never left their shoulders. Enlightening. Humbling. The pictures attached? Those are peoples homes. Those are their yards, their living rooms, and obviously their restrooms. I'm not ashamed that I myself walked back to the place of my "employment" where I eventually got into a "car" and went back to a "house" (with a roof and climate control)... But I am keenly aware that Beth was correct, every one of you reading this knows far more than one person that is just a few paychecks from being on these tracks themselves whether you kno it or not. And while certainly worth bearing in mind, that's not the message I intended to convey.This is all just a reminder that these are People. Flawed human beings like the rest of us, and not something to be scorned or ignored. They are not inconvenient; they are human beings and how they are treated, these people least able to defend themselves, is a direct reflection of our society. And while the system is not perfect - as at least Phillip will tell you - we live in a pretty great town. The facilities and resources are minute but the generosity and decency doesn't seem to know any bounds. Thank you for that.Support the Community Kitchen financially, and instead of donating things to established thrift shops that are at the end of the day for-profit institutions (check their CEO's pay if you can stomach it), consider bringing your clothing and your shoes down here to East 11th Street. And if it's kind of scary, because it is, shoot me a message and I'll pick it up on duty myself. ...Just a thought after one of the best days at work in years.