New executive director of Family Promise hopes to break homeless cycle
Julie Randall knew at an early age that she wanted to help people. As a fifth grader, she would take the bus after
school to volunteer at a nursing home.
“We would chat and paint fingernails. I saw early on the impact that can have,” Randall remembers.
Those feelings stuck with her.
Decades later, the lifelong-Danville resident is still committed to making a difference. She was recently named executive director of Family Promise of Hendricks County, a non-profit that works to fight homelessness by pairing families with area churches for immediate shelter, meals, and support.
“They come in so depressed. This is their rock bottom, but so quickly they change and see that hope,” explains Randall. She says the faces they see aren’t those of a stereotypical homeless person sleeping on a city street with a sign, but single mothers with small children who live in motels or sleep in their cars. “Something goes awry in their lives and the next thing they know they are homeless.”
Randall, who has a degree in social work and a background in community outreach, is also a mother of three children, which has only made her more passionate about the cause.
“What motivates me is seeing how hard those mothers work. They have so many obstacles and I want to help them get to where they need to go.”
Family Promise is currently serving three women and nine children, including a twomonth old baby. Families rotate every week to a different church where they are greeted by volunteers and support staff.
“The consistent thing they are getting is that love, you can see it on their faces,” Randall says. The goal is to not only give them that support but also help them get on their feet by finding affordable housing, childcare and a steady paycheck.
Family Promise, which launched in March of 2015, has helped 26 families go from homeless to a sustainable environment. But despite that success, Randall says it isn’t enough. In Hendricks County, it’s estimated that 123 school aged children were homeless in the 2015-16 school year. Family Promise is currently turning away
around five families or individuals every week due to lack of space and resources. Randall hopes to change that by finding more volunteers, host sites and letting the community know they are here. “My goal is to grow both the number of families we can help and grow the incoming support and awareness,” she said. “I see myself as that bridge.”