Family Promise Director Multitasks to Help Homeless
Carolyn Roy became director of Interfaith Coalition’s Family Promise of Whatcom County in July 2018. She instantly changed her title to program manager, “because director was terrifying to me.”
Roy, who lives in Bellingham, was working then for Interfaith in a different role. Two weeks earlier, she’d heard speaker Willow Weston, local founder of the women-oriented Collide ministry, speak at Cornwall Church about taking risks, about doing what God calls you to do even if you feel you’re not equipped. And shortly after, the call came: Would Roy step up to lead Interfaith’s Family Promise of Whatcom County?
“I knew I had to say yes, even though everything within me wanted to say no,” Roy says.
Seven months later, she’s increasingly comfortable in the role, one of the few within Interfaith that’s paid and full-time. “It’s always daunting, it challenges me to do my best. It takes so much effort from so many people.”
Interfaith’s Family Promise requires a dizzying amount of logistics, communication, and problem-solving among 52 volunteer coordinators, 800 volunteers, 13 sites (mostly houses of worship) that host the families, 18 additional congregations that help the host churches, the constant weekly rotation of several guest families being served, presentations to other agencies, training new volunteers, and conflict resolution, Roy says. She oversees case manager Marikka Matheny, and part-time employees Robert Bell, van driver, and Callaway Holm, assistant.
All are working toward Interfaith’s goal: empower local families to lift themselves out of poverty and into stable, long-term housing. Eighty-eight percent of families that come through Interfaith accomplish that goal.
Louis Tabor’s little family is one. He credits the positive attitude of the volunteers, and Family Promise’s previous and present directors. About Roy he says, “She was shook at first, but the amazing things she’s been doing since then lifts me up.”