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This new Oakwood facility will help homeless families
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Family Promise of Hall County homeless ministry is hoping to move to the property currently occupied by McEver Road United Methodist Church. - photo by Scott Rogers

Family Promise of Hall County’s plans to move into the McEver Road United Methodist Church property were unanimously approved by the Hall County Board of Commissioners on Thursday. The nonprofit’s new campus can help it serve more local homeless families.

The organization provides short-term and transitional housing for homeless families, financial assistance, and parenting and jobs skills classes. Its new campus, The Homestead, will be located at 3606 McEver Road

Family Promise currently rotates housing and care for the families it serves among 12 churches. The nonprofit can serve three families at a time in the normal shelter plus two transitional housing units, but it turns away about 40 families a month due to a lack of space, Executive Director Lindsey McCamy said. The new campus could eventually help 25 families at a time, but the organization plans to start out with 12 families, she said.

McCamy said “we want to restore, we want to rehabilitate, and we want to renew families.” Some people may seek out services during the day, while some will stay overnight.

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Lindsey McCamy, executive director of Family Promise of Hall County, tours the property at McEver Road United Methodist Church on Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019, where she hopes to move the Gainesville-based homeless ministry. - photo by Scott Rogers

“For us, homelessness is not a permanent state. It is an experience,” she said. “...Our mission is to transform children and their families who are experiencing homelessness. We empower parents with self-sufficiency through many of our programs. We offer a hand up, not a handout.”

McCamy said Family Promise participants are drug screened and background checked, and they check in with case managers every day.

McEver Road United Methodist Church plans to relocate but will rent the property back from Family Promise for a year. The church will hold worship services in the fellowship hall while the sanctuary is being renovated. Family Promise is set to close on the 8.6-acre property in November.

The Rev. Rob Bruce, the church’s pastor, said Thursday that he supported Family Promise’s move into the space the church has outgrown. Several other community members voiced their support for Family Promise’s work at Thursday’s meeting. No one spoke in opposition. 

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Family Promise of Hall County volunteer Sue Tibbetts takes a phone call Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2019, at the Gainesville office. Family Promise is proposing a new campus at McEver Road United Methodist Church on McEver Road. - photo by Scott Rogers

“They are very invested in selecting families that they can help get on their feet and get out on their own,” Dr. Roy Smith said. “They’re not permanent, long-term housing. They are there for the people who have had various circumstances in life that have pulled the rug out from under them. You’d be surprised at how many people there might be familiar not in name, but familiar in terms of the kind of people that we’ve all known in our lifetime who have had unfortunate circumstances.”

The property will be rezoned from agricultural residential to planned office development.

The 10,000-square-foot church has two separate wings. One side will have offices and apartments, while the portion of the building currently housing the church’s fellowship hall will become a day care center. 

The Hall County Planning Commission had recommended approval of the rezoning on Sept. 16.
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