Addressing a Critical Need with Available Resources
In 2021, a group of service providers were talking about how to address the housing crisis in the Northern Shenandoah Valley while another group of members from Market Street United Methodist Church were discussing ways to utilize their infrequently used education building to serve the community. As agencies and organizations working closely together to meet increasing needs with limited resources, the concerns that surface when focusing on one particular
populations' needs are capacity and duplication of services. Everyone recognized that families with children experiencing homelessness was becoming a growing demographic of those needing financial assistance and support services in order to change their situation, but the task was beyond what the current service providers could handle effectively.
A Family Promise affiliate had opened in 2017 in Shenandoah County, and were often called to provide services in the Winchester/Frederick County areas. Because of the growing need, conversations began with Shenandoah County Family Promise about expanding into the northern part of the Shenandoah Valley. In the meantime, the Market Street Commons Team started seeing their unused educational building as a ministry opportunity, rather than just high-end residential space.
After many months, many meetings, and much discussion, it became apparent that perhaps Market Street United Methodist Church could be the home site for a Family Promise that serves the Winchester/Frederick County area. Now the task shifted to how to start a Family Promise Northern Shenandoah Valley affiliate.
In 2018, Winchester Together, a vision of Joanna Dietz, at that time a pastor at Braddock Street United Methodist Church, had started as a faith-base non-profit and operated a transitional housing program in Winchester until 2019. After several setbacks, and Joanna's move to a new position in Richmond with the United Methodist Church, Winchester Together ceased operations but remained a viable,compliant non-profit waiting for God to open up a new opportunity to serve the community. After more discussion and lots of prayers, it was evident that Wnchester Together was poised to resume operations for such a time as this. In August 2022, Winchester Together officially changed its name to Family Promise Northern Shenandoah Valley, and with the hospitality the Market Street Commons the journey began.
That's the abbreviated version of where we started and the progress we have made. Please join us and help us write the rest of the story of this amazing opportunity to serve families with children experiencing or at risk of homelessness in the Northern Shenandoah Valley.