Family Promise is a national organization started in Summit, New Jersey in 1988. It began in Rochester in 1999. Then in 2006 the name was changed to Family Promise of Greater Rochester, to reflect the broad range of programs and vision of ending homelessness. “The name refers to the promise, in the sense of commitment, which communities make to families in need. But it also refers to the promise, the potential, that is inherent in every family”.

It is an organization with a small paid staff and a large network of volunteers from many different faith communities. Food and shelter are given to families, with at least one minor child in their care, who find themselves homeless. Prior to the pandemic, families were housed in various host churches for a week at a time, giving them a chance to regroup, rejuvenate, and get back on their feet with dignity. In 2020, Family Promise bought a big house in the Kutzy Park neighborhood, at 913 1st St NW. It has been named The North Star House-“a guiding light for those in need”. This house provides emergency shelter for families. Families access shelter for 30-90 days and receive case management services from a social worker on staff. That staff person helps them access the necessary resources to secure permanent housing. Once housing is secured, the work shifts to helping the family with stabilization services, such as Life Skills Classes provide, for up to two years. Those classes empower families to achieve and maintain independence.

Our church supports Family Promise financially through an annual shared plate as well as participation in various fundraisers the organization has during the year. We also have a group of volunteers who provide meals, volunteer on some of the committees, and help with care of the children during the Life Skills classes. If you are interested in more information, contact Julie Gilkinson (507) 289-2762 or Kay Eberman the volunteer coordinators for First UU.

Check out the family Promise Rochester website

All volunteers who interact with the families need to be trained every 3 years and submit to a background check. Training is now available virtually.

This training is now available on the Family Promise Rochester website . Once on the website, go to the “volunteer” tab, then select “Training Video” and watch it. You will then need to go back and select “Training  Presentation” and go through the PowerPoint. After both of those are completed, go back and select “Volunteer Recertification. You will then fill out the form and click “Submit.”

To just deliver meals, no sharing of dinner with the families, training is not required. It is recommended so you have a better idea of the organization and how it is working to help families.

Current (2023) Staff:

Erin Sinnwell– Executive Director
Katlynn Combs-Program Director and Case Manager

  • 507-281-3122Family Promise Office Phone
  • Family Promise North Star House Address: 913 1st St. NW

Family Promise Rochester
North Star House
913 1st St. NW Rochester, MN 55901

Transforming the lives of families experiencing homelessness. Because every child deserves a home.

To help families experiencing homelessness and low-income families achieve sustainable independence through a community-based response.

A nation in which every family has a home, a livelihood, and the chance to build a better future.

Family Promise helps local communities coordinate their compassion to address the root causes of family homelessness. We address the issue holistically, providing prevention services before families reach crisis, shelter and case management when they become homeless, and stabilization programs once they have secured housing to ensure they remain independent. Existing local resources are used to empower families towards economic stability. Families come to Family Promise in crisis and are helped to rebuild their lives with new skills and ongoing support.