Family Promise, a faith-based program to provide temporary housing to homeless families, has hired a director.
Joe Reitz, leader of Family Promise, says the group's board has hired Valerie Miller-Coleman to run the program. Miller-Coleman begins Oct. 2.
"The board of Family Promise is absolutely delighted to have somebody of her caliber and her experience to run our program," Reitz says. "The director's job is absolutely critical to our success, and she is, without question, the person to run this program."
Miller-Coleman has worked in community service and social outreach professionally since 1999 and most recently was a homeless outreach specialist at Bert Nash. Before coming to Lawrence, she worked in Des Moines, Iowa, Birmingham, Ala., and Nashville, Tenn. The Vanderbilt Divinity School graduate says that the program combines her two great interests: faith and helping the homeless.
"It's a really good fit for my education and my skill set," Miller-Coleman says. "Also, it just makes tons of sense for me ... I could only imagine something as well-suited to how I understand my work in the world to be, it answers that call that I'd be able to do service to the folks on the margins and also to do it in partnership with congregations."
On Tuesday, Family Promise scrapped plans to open a homeless day center at 1501 R.I. The group is still looking to find a site for the day center, which would serve homeless families with children. The group is looking for a site close to downtown, so that those who use the center could have easy access to Lawrence's public transportation hub.
The program, which is found in communities across the country, also would include host churches that would rotate in providing housing to homeless families.