Families Moving Forward


Frequently Asked Questions

View Volunteer Role Descriptions:


Who is Families Moving Forward?
Beacon’s Families Moving Forward program offers families experiencing homelessness hospitality, emergency shelter and a path to home with support for stability.

Who can volunteer?
Anyone! At least one adult must be present at every shift, but FMF would be a great opportunity for families with children, married couples, small groups and Bible studies.  You can even bring your friends who aren’t part of MO.

What types of roles will be available?

1.     Room set-up/take-down – help set-up and take-down the guest rooms.

2.     Dinner Hosts – will provide the meal for a particular evening.  This person is in communication with the Meal/Food Coordinator (Marcia Ziebell) regarding the week’s menu.

3.     Activities/Childcare Host – will provide evening activities for all of the children and may be responsible for child care for one hour each evening.  This person will be in communication with the Activities Coordinator (Linda Busklein) regarding the week’s guests and schedule.

4.     Overnight Hosts – will sleep at the church overnight and will be the volunteer contact overnight.  It is preferred that there are two overnight hosts of opposite gender every night.  These people will be aware of the church’s emergency procedures and understand building security. 

5.     Back-up Hosts – volunteers who are willing to fill-in as needed and on short notice.

6.     Overnight Emergency Hosts – someone who lives near the church and is available if an emergency happens during night.  This person may stay at the church if a scheduled Overnight Host needs to take a guest to the hospital or may themselves take a guest to the hospital or wherever appropriate.

7.     Dishes

8.     Laundry


Where could I find more information about the program?
www.beaconinterfaith.org Click on “WHAT WE DO” and then “FAMILIES MOVING FORWARD”


Are there other congregations who work with FMF?
Yes.  Volunteers from about 80 congregations throughout the Twin Cities metro area create shelter space at congregation sites.  (Trinity Lutheran in Long Lake, St. Philip the Deacon Lutheran in Plymouth and St. Barnabas in Plymouth are among those who participate.)


How many families does FMF serve?
Their capacity is 12 families at a time; 8 at FMF-Hennepin and 4 at FMF-Southwest.  Families are referred to them by counties, other service agencies and word of mouth.


How many families will Mount Olivet serve at one time?
We will serve up to 4 families and no more than 16 people at any given time.


Does FMF screen these families?
Yes.  They ask prospective guests about their physical and mental health, their criminal records and their previous episodes of homelessness.  The information is verified by doing an online background check. 


What would case a family to not qualify?
The family must be homeless and must be traveling with and have legal custody of at least one child under 18.  To protect the safety of the volunteers, FMF attempts to screen people out who have a criminal record, are fleeing local domestic abuse, are currently abusing substances and/or have significant mental health issues.


How often will Mount Olivet participate?
As of right now, we are only scheduled to host the week of May 21, 2017  – The families will stay with us 7 nights beginning Sunday.   Assuming the process goes well, we will sign up for additional weeks in 2018 (2017 is already full).  Most churches participate 2-4 times per year.


What role does MO play in the process?
We will provide night shelter for these families; a safe place to sleep, hot meals, activities and friendship.


Why does Mount Olivet feel called to this?
One of our benevolent giving priorities is around homelessness, and we feel excited to address this issue in a new way. Mount Olivet wants to use its building for the good of those in need in our community, and this is one way we can do that.


What is a day in the program like?
Everyone has a routine, which families say is really important to them.  During the day, families use the Program Centers as a hub.  They include staff offices, storage space for personal belongings, a kitchen, laundry machines, showers, computer access, a living room, children’s play area and a quiet room.  School buses pick up children for school or HeadStart from the Program Center and bring them back at the end of the day.  Parents go to work, meet regularly with their staff, search for housing and jobs, meet for financial literacy class, do laundry, make meals and care for their children.


Who will transport the families between the FMF hub and MO?
The FMF program arranges for bus transportation from the program center to the hosting congregation each night and the return trip in the morning.


How much will this cost Mount Olivet?
This is not a separate budget item.  Any cost’s associated with hosting will come through the pastors’ discretionary fund.  In addition, we will use volunteers and Thrivent grants to cover the costs as well,