SPECIAL REPORT: Homeless In Fort Bend – The Invisible Problem
Moore Family overcomes tough times with help of Fort Bend Family Promise
By Michael Sudhalter
When Richard and Sharika Moore hosted their small wedding ceremony last Saturday, it was symbolic to have it in the New Hope Lutheran Church’s outdoor chapel at 1424 Murphy Rd. in Missouri City.
The Fort Bend couple chose the location because it’s the current home of Fort Bend Family Promise, a non-profit that helps homeless families get back on their feet.
The Moores credit Fort Bend Family Promise with helping them stabilize their lives and move into a home they rent near the Stafford/Houston border.
Fort Bend Family Promise is also moving soon. They will host the dedication ceremony of their new Day Center at 4645 Cartwright Rd. in Missouri City, at 4 p.m. Thursday.
The non-profit only has one full-time employee – Executive Director Vera Johnson. Families who are homeless, but may not have met federal guidelines for homelessness, can come to Fort Bend Family Promise and apply to the program.
They stay in the “Day Center” and work or look for jobs, while their children attend school. At night, several churches in the area host the families.
Unlike shelters, Fort Bend Family Promise has the infrastructure to keep families together.
Richard Moore never thought his family would end up homeless.
A U.S. Navy Veteran of the First Gulf War and a Dulles High graduate, Moore worked retail jobs while supporting his children and girlfriend/fiancee, Sharika. They had been significant others for the past decade.
But Richard, a Type 1 Diabetic, was in and out of the hospital due to Diabetic complications, while Sharika, who also works in retail, was pregnant.
When Richard lost his job due to missing a great deal of work from medical problems, financial problems began to accumulate.
First, the family moved into a pay-by-the-week motel in Harris County, and later, moved in with some relatives in Fresno.
“Being homeless and moving from place to place was really stressful – there are no words to describe it,” Sharika said.
Richard said living with relatives eventually put a strain on them, and they had few options of places to go, but eventually found and applied to Fort Bend Family Promise after hearing about it from a school nurse at his son’s school.
“We went there with nothing,” Richard said. “A lot of our stuff was in storage, and we couldn’t pay the storage fee, so the storage place sold most of it and destroyed the rest – including furniture, kids’ clothes and toys. If the school nurse hadn’t mentioned Fort Bend Family Promise, I’d have never known about it. It was really a prayer answered.”
The family stayed at a different church every night, only to wake up at 5 a.m. and head to the Family Promise Day Center.
“It wasn’t an ideal, but in the end, it became a benefit,” Richard said. “It gave you a sense of ‘get up and go’ and kept us on routine. It took our mind off the situation and gave us the drive to get back to normal life. The churches were awesome, full of good Christian people in Fort Bend.”
Through Family Promise, Richard found a job with Second Mile as a Data Management Specialist. He also assists in the food pantry and re-sale shop.
They were able to find a home to rent through a program called “A Home of Their Own.”
Family Promise also helps to ensure that families stay on track. They mentor families while they’re in the program, and later follow-up with them to ensure they’re making sound financial decisions.
“It just shows that God makes miracles – I will never not have faith,” Sharika said.