Family Promise of Hall County, a Gainesville-based homeless ministry, took the first step Monday, Sept. 16, toward fulfilling its goal of expanding its work through a new campus in West Hall.
The Hall County Planning Commission recommended approval of the project to the Hall County Board of Commissioners, which is set to take a final vote Oct. 10.
Family Promise is seeking rezoning approval so it can put the campus at McEver Road United Methodist Church, 3606 McEver Road, about a mile north of Mundy Mill Road.
“Thanks, folks, I appreciate what you’re doing,” planning board member Stan Hunt told Family Promise officials and supporters as they left they room after the vote.
“Thank y’all, very much,” said the Rev. Rob Bruce, McEver Road UMC’s pastor.
No one spoke in opposition to the Family Promise proposal, but several people voiced support, including one person who question Hall planning staff’s recommendation for denial.
"The proposed rezoning and development is inconsistent with the Comprehensive Plan," states a staff report, referring to a county future land-use document. "The proposed development does not fit the description of a civic benefit under the Lake Area Residential designation."
Family Promise has said the project would increase the number of families that would be served but also effectively end its practice of rotating the housing and care of families among 12 churches.
The churches can stay involved, however, through volunteer work on the campus, executive director Lindsey McCamy has said.
Family Promise, which began in 2012, provides short-term and transitional housing for homeless while providing financial help, parenting and job skills classes.
At the new campus, which will be called The Homestead, “we anticipate more efficient use of staff and operations resources in serving those homeless families with children as they progress through the Family Promise program to sustainable independence,” says the organization in a Hall County document.
“Combining all of our services into one location will allow families to participate in more interrelated activities, such as helping in our day care facility,” according to Family Promise.
If all goes as the agency hopes, it would close on the property in mid-November with McEver Road UMC, then lease space to the church for one year, giving it time to find a permanent home.