• Family Promise

Simply put, this organization would not be what it is today without the efforts of Doy Cole.

Doy’s work with homeless people started in Houston about 1990 through his Church and also his involvement in the SEARCH homeless project in downtown Houston as well as the Harris County Homeless Coalition.

In 2005, he relocated to New Braunfels. He joined the Comal County Homeless Coalition and became a board member of TIPHER (The Institute for Public Health and Education Research). With the support of his church (New Braunfels Presbyterian), he committed to helping homeless people in New Braunfels.

Through TIPHER, Doy and others enabled the House of Hope free medical clinic, the Westside Community Center, the Soup Kitchen, and other services for the poor and homeless. The Homeless Coalition became the primary advocate for homeless people with agencies throughout the county working together to help homeless people. In the last two years, the Homeless Coalition opened the first-ever Cold Weather Shelter and then first-ever Winter Shelter in early 2020 which closed as COVID19 hit.

“I learned early there are many faces of homelessness. The face the public sees so often is the “chronic homeless person” living in the streets. While these are the most severe and in many ways the most heartbreaking, the stats (look them up) tell us that family homeless people including children are the largest group. Family Promise addresses homeless families with children.”

Family Promise came to Doy’s church and the HCCC in late 2011 to explore the idea of establishing a Family Promise affiliate in our area. Statistics gathered by HCCC and the two local, independent school districts indicated there were a surprising number of homeless children in our community. The abundance of churches provided the service platform to launch an effort to form an affiliate. A pastor at his church asked him to take a leadership role and in February 2012, Family Promise of Greater New Braunfels was launched. Sixteen months later, they opened their doors with Stacey Minor serving as the first Executive Director. Doy served on many committees, was involved in recruiting volunteers, securing host churches, and extremely involved with fundraising. After seven years of board service, including four as Board President and three as Treasurer Doy’s board limit term ended.

Since his retirement, Doy has committed much of his free time to continue his quest to help homeless families through TIPHER, HCCC, NB Housing Partners, and Family Promise.

Doy Cole is still very present at Family Promise. Current Executive Director, Sarah Dixon, keeps him in the loop and consults him on many issues. He maintains his involvement in the fundraising aspect of FPGNB. He started the Family Promise Endowment Fund that can be found through the New Braunfels Community Foundation.

“My heart is still with Family Promise and always will be. Homeless people are real people and deserve dignity.”

  • Family Promise

I’ve been sharing my family’s tough story about how we lost it all, how we found Family Promise, and what it was like being in the program. Now I get to share the most exciting part of the story. Spoiler alert:


It was hard, hard work. Believe me, when I tell you, I spent all of my extra energy for months working toward this goal. My kids were so supportive and encouraging when they could tell I was getting tired. My caseworker and all the volunteers and the other families in the program helped me so much - more than I could ever say. It is because of all the support, help, encouragement, prayers, and gifts that we are making a fresh start.

I want to explain what we had to do and the goals we had to meet to become graduates of Family Promise.

First, we had to get all of our “paperwork” in order. That means I had to pay off overdue bills and get my current bills up to date. I also had to request new birth certificates and social security cards for me and my kids. Somehow in all the chaos of the past year, I lost the box that had all of our important documents. We have to get those in order as part of the program.

Next, I had to put together a budget that works for my family. A budget was hard for me. I had to go back and change it so many times until it was right, and the numbers worked. At first, I was not honest about our monthly expenses. My caseworker helped me to get real about what I actually spend every month. She also helped me to remember the things that I left off of the budget. I also had to start a savings account where I could save up at least a few months of expenses. This was an essential part of the plan so that we wouldn’t find ourselves in this situation again. I wish so much someone would have taught me this a long time ago!

Some of the other requirements that we had to meet before graduating included a full-time job (which Family Promise helped me find) and childcare for when school is not in session (which I was able to pay for again thanks to my new job).

The next thing on my list was a tough one. I had to find an affordable place to live. The waitlist is very long for all of the affordable housing in New Braunfels. I did get on a couple of waitlists just as soon as we got to Family Promise, but I didn’t have much hope. Most of the regular apartments are out of my price range. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. On the days I felt really down, it was usually because I could not imagine how this housing part would fall into place. One of the families that I became friends with didn’t graduate because they couldn’t find housing on their own. They did move in with one of their family members and are still doing well. Even though I know not every family graduates from Family Promise - some families just need a little bit of help and not the whole program - I was determined that graduating was something I wanted to accomplish. I knew that finding an affordable place to live would be the most challenging of all my goals.

The last major thing on my list was also a toughie. I had to secure reliable transportation. My kids thought that we could just ride in the Family Promise van forever! They had gotten so attached to the drivers who had been taking us around. The drivers are all so nice and had become like members of our family. While I loved our new friends, I was ready to have a car again, and I knew we needed one. I just didn’t know-how. I spent many evenings searching online for a used car I could afford without much luck.

What I am going to tell you next is going to make me cry. Bear with me. Right out of the clear blue sky, two miracles occurred.

First, when I had pretty much decided it just wasn’t going to happen, I got a call that an apartment had come available that was in my budget. We were going to have a place of our own. And, I was actually going to graduate! When I hung up the phone, I bawled. It still makes me cry to tell it. I felt so many emotions. Happy, proud, scared, overjoyed, relieved, and also - surprisingly - I felt really, really sad. My time at Family Promise was coming to an end. I was both ready and terrified about our next steps. On one hand, we would deeply miss the loving community that kept us safe and supported during such a scary time. It was like an oasis in our time of need. On the other hand, I was ready for the independence I had been working toward.

The next thing that happened still just blows my mind. A few days before we planned to move into our apartment, an extremely kind family who we have never met, for reasons that I still do not understand, donated their car to us. We were GIVEN a beautiful, working car that we named “Faith” because that is what carried us through. We thank God every day and ask Him to bless the family who helped us with a car. My new goal is to be in a position someday to be able to pay it forward.

Getting settled into our new place has been fun. It is still pretty sparse, but we were able to get a few things at Habitat for Humanity with vouchers. My kids love their new room. Every little piece that we add to our new lives is so special to us now. We appreciate it so much more. At our graduation party, one of the host churches gave us this awesome basket full of things we need for the new place.

It is all coming together and starting to feel like our home.


Disclaimer: This story is based on the experiences of families experiencing homelessness both in our community and around the nation. The names used are fictitious but the circumstances faced are very real. We hope you will stay tuned for Part III next month to learn about a day in the life at Family Promise of Greater New Braunfels.

  • Family Promise

Updated: Aug 11

You cannot imagine (and it is hard to truly explain) the enormous feeling of relief that comes from having a safe place for your kids to sleep. A ‘safe place to sleep’ is one of those things that you just don’t realize you have until it is gone.

On the third night in the program, I was actually able to cry. Like - loud, snotty, ugly cry. I had been putting on a brave face for my kids for so long. I finally broke down and let it all out. One of the volunteers sat with me as the tears poured and poured in a flood of grief. It was the first time I let myself feel it - the loss of almost everything we had and the shame of finding ourselves in this situation. Another volunteer played with my kids and distracted them while I fell apart.

Since that night, I have actually been able to breathe. Every day I feel more and more hope. Each day I get stronger. The other day I even laughed with my kids - something I hadn’t done in a very long time!

I want to share with you what a typical day looks like as a Family Promise family.

We wake up in a room in the host congregation. Each family gets their own room. It is safe, quiet, and secure since the volunteers stay there with us. As I said, the difference between sleeping in a safe space vs an unsafe spot (or not knowing where we will sleep) is something I’ve never quite been able to put in words. Trust me when I say it is a huge deal. Being able to relax, let go, and sleep makes me feel ready to take on the day as well as tackle my bigger problems.

I usually enjoy a few minutes of serenity first thing in the morning to watch my kids sleep and make my prayers for the day. Since beginning this program, I feel like I have rediscovered my relationship with God. I am leaning on my faith in a new way these days, so it has been so good to start each day with prayer.

Then, the faith community that is hosting us offers a quick breakfast prepared by the volunteers. They also have some food available so I am able to pack lunches for Oscar and Sophia. After breakfast, we gather up all of our stuff. One of the rules is that we have to be out building really early. So the van takes us over to the Day Center to take showers and get ready for the day.

Family Promise helped me find a job. Even though the work is a little different than what I am used to, I am learning. I am just so unbelievably grateful to be working and earning a paycheck! And since we do not have to pay rent or utilities while we are in the program, I will be able to save some money so that when we graduate, I can have a deposit for a new place to live.

Right before we came into this program, a friend of mine had given me her old car. I was so glad at the time because that is right before we lost our house. So at least we had something. But a few weeks ago that old car broke down for good.

Family Promise has a van that takes us to the host organization, to the day center, drops my kids off at daycare, and then me at work. On the weekend - usually Saturday - the van will take us to the grocery store to get things we need. I don’t mean to sound ungrateful. I’m so happy for the help. But it is really hard not having a car. If I forget something at the grocery store or need something in the middle of the week, I can’t just go get it. I have to wait until the next Saturday. It is not easy.

After daycare and work, we go back to the day center. It is my favorite part of the day. I didn’t realize how alone I had been feeling. I have made two new, wonderful friends who have been through a lot of the same stuff we have. One has three kids and the other has one. While the kids play, we talk about what is going on for us while we take care of our required chores and do our laundry. We share our wins and our losses and support each other along the way. I think they will be friends for life - I love them just like sisters!

Then, in the evening we all head to the host congregation for dinner. The food is always so delicious and you can tell it is made with so much love. Just knowing that I don’t have to figure out where the next meal is coming from gives me such relief. I know my kids will be fed and safe which frees up my mind so I can start thinking about our next steps in life.

Sometimes in the evening, the volunteers spend time with our kids and we take a class. Last week the class was about saving money. I’m learning so much. For example, no one ever told me I was supposed to have 3 - 6 months in savings. If I had known that, I probably wouldn’t have gotten in this mess! Of course, maybe I would have. It is not easy managing a family on one income.

I am learning how to have some grace with myself. I felt like such a failure for so long. That is starting to change now. I’m learning how to not be so hard on myself. One of the classes that they offered us was about budgeting. I’ve never known how to do that either. When my husband was around, he took care of our finances. After he left, I had no idea how to manage it all. These classes are actually showing me that I can do it.

Everyone has been beyond nice and beyond helpful. My 3-year-old daughter cries when we have to leave the church because she loves the volunteers so much. They play with her and read her stories and make her feel so loved. I think she would want to stay forever!

My caseworker has helped me set some big goals and I am determined to achieve them. Not every day is easy. Sometimes I still feel down or like we are never going to make it to graduation or we are never going to be able to have a home again. Most days, though, I feel inspired and motivated to get us back on track.

Family Promise is teaching me how to get my family out of this hole and stay out. For the most part, I can actually say I have hope again. I can even say there is a part of me that is glad this happened. I have met some wonderful people and learned so much. It is not an exaggeration when I say that Family Promise saved our lives.


Disclaimer: This story is based on the experiences of families experiencing homelessness both in our community and around the nation. The names used are fictitious but the circumstances faced are very real. We hope you will stay tuned for Part III next month to learn about a day in the life at Family Promise of Greater New Braunfels.

Family Promise of Greater New Braunfels

PO Box 311866, New Braunfels, TX 78131

(830) 214-0024

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