The Family Promise Hospitality Code


  1. It’s nice to hear your name, so learn the names of our guests, too.
  2. Labeling people creates invisible barriers. Remember that guests are guests, not “the homeless.” Labeling—whether spoken or printed on a posted sign—creates divisions and can foster an “us” and “them” syndrome.
  3. Personal questions can be tough to answer, so don’t put guests in awkward positions by asking personal questions. If guests need to talk, give them the chance, but don’t pry.
  4. We all like to keep some things to ourselves. All information about guests is confidential. Don’t discuss guests’ situations with other people.
  5. Everyone can use a little privacy. Our churches and synagogues become temporary homes for our guests. A guest’s room is their own private space.
  6. Sometimes we need to spend time alone. Respect guests’ needs for quiet times alone or with family.
  7. We all have bad days. Depression, sadness, and hopelessness may come. Allow guests the space to deal with their emotions. Be prepared to forgive outbursts without judging guests as ungrateful.
  8. We understand and care for our children. Allow guests to do the same. Avoid contradicting guests’ instructions to their children. Always ask parents’ permission before giving things to children.
  9. Parents need a break. Offer to tutor, play with, and plan activities for interested children while their parents take a break. (Volunteers are never alone with guest children.)
  10. Adult guests should be treated like adults. Although our guests are in situations that may make them temporarily dependent on others, remember that they are adults who are capable of making their own decisions.

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