ost people want to help their homeless "neighbors" - but how?
Interfaith Hospitality Network Houston Northwest (IHN), a program of Northwest Assistance Ministries (NAM), is a community response to homelessness. Families who are without homes, drug/alcohol free and mentally stable are the focus of our program.
IHN, in collaboration with the community of faith, helps make a difference in the lives of families. While in our program (maximum length 3 months) the people (guests) are given shelter through congregations of faith on a 1 week rotation for 13 weeks, with assistance through NAM (Day Room use, Jobs Program, Children's Clinic, Rotary Learning Center, Resale Shop, etc.) and other community services (AFDC, Food Stamps, WIC, Medicaid, etc.).
Guidance is from the staff of IHN (Director, Assistant Director/Van driver and Weekend Coordinator). Volunteers are vital to the success of IHN. They provide meals, coordinate activities, are over-night hosts, van and truck drivers and provide acts of kindness for those we serve.
A Network has five basic components:
Host Congregations: Provide overnight lodging, meals (supper, breakfast, and a sack lunch), and hospitality for three to five families for one week. There are 18 congregations in the Houston Northwest Network.
Volunteers: They are the heart of the Network. They provide meals, fellowship with the guests, and stay overnight. There are approximately 30-50 volunteers at each congregation.
Social Service Providers: Local service providers refer guests to the Network. They also assist the guests with obtaining housing, employment, government entitlements, and other services.
Day Center: The Day Center is housed at Northwest Assistance Ministries. Guests can shower, care for children, look for housing and attend to their personal affairs. The Center also serves as a mailing address for the guests.
Transportation: An IHN van transports guests to and from the Host congregation, to social service agencies, to work, and to school.
Fiscal Year Update:
IHN SUCCESS STORY
"Before coming to IHN, as bad as everything was, I knew I wanted better for my kids. And I knew I was the only one who could fix it. But I was completely alone. All I had was fear. While I was at IHN, there was no fear. Now I've gone from having no one to having all of NAM and 18 congregations behind me. I know I'll always have someone to turn to. I'll never be alone again.."
NATIONAL INTERFAITH HOSPITALITY NETWORK
- The Interfaith Hospitality Network provided 2,609 shelter nights to 141 adults and children transitioning from homelessness.
- Staff provided 707 hours of case management and ensured the provision of parenting, life skills classes and counseling for substance abuse, mental health, and family issues.
National Interfaith Hospitality Network (NIHN) was founded in Summit, New Jersey in 1988 by Karen Olsen, who serves as the President. It was established to address the growing need to provide emergency shelter, meals, and comprehensive assistance to homeless families in finding housing, jobs and job training. NIHN, a national nonprofit organization, mobilizes communities throughout the United States to help homeless and low-income families achieve sustainable independence through the establishment of IHN programs.
In 1992, NIHN received the President's Annual Points of Light Award for being one of the top twenty volunteer agencies in the country. NIHN is funded entirely through private foundations, grants, and corporate and individual contributions.
National Statistics: 125 Networks in 39 states. 110,000 volunteers, 130,000 guests annually.
To learn more on the national level connect to: www.nihn.org