Real help, real hope

Valerie Urbanik | Oberlin News-Tribune

Family Promise director Lois Pozega is excited to open a new homeless shelter in Oberlin.

A shelter for homeless families is opening in town this September.

Family Promise of Lorain County purchased Sacred Heart Catholic Church’s pastor’s house on West Lorain Street to open a new day center in Oberlin.

Director Lois Pozega said the shelter will house homeless families during the day and then they will be taken to a host church in the county to spend the night.

The group has 18 host churches throughout the county that house families at night, provide food, and offer activities.

“The majority of our churches are here and in Wellington,” Pozega said.

Family Promise will be able to house 14 people in need. Pozega said people that come to Family Promise have to be 100 percent alcohol and drug free and have children.

“When they come to us they’ve hit rock bottom,” she said. That often means a parent was downsized from a job, lost a job, or could make necessary payments. “We’re their support to lift them up and get them back on their feet,” Pozega said.

Each child at Family Promise attends school during the day while the parents receive assistance finding a new place to live, find employment, take college classes, and learn life skills such as parenting and managing money.

Any parent who graduates from the program can return for additional assistance.

Pozega said she’s interested in building a garden and play area for the families to enjoy in the backyard.

“What I love here is that the children will be able to run and play,” she said. Kids are not able to do that at the Elyria location because there is no open land.

The organization is maintaining its location in Elyria but opening a new location in Oberlin to expand its outreach to families in the southern part of the county.

Pozega said she hopes to double the number of people Family Promise serves in two to three years.

Valerie Urbanik can be reached at 440-775-1611 or on Twitter @ValUrbanik.