Family Promise is an organization that has helped families in need for 20 years throughout the country. Interfaith Hospitality Networks of 10-13 churches form within an area and help families who are homeless. Interfaith Hospitality Networks are currently operating in 39 states and the District of Columbia, in large cities, suburbs, and rural counties. They mobilize community resources: houses of worship for lodging, congregations for volunteers, social service agencies for assessment and referrals, and existing facilities for day programs. This strategy enables networks to help homeless families achieve lasting independence at a third of the cost of traditional shelters.
There are five key components in each IHN.
- Hosting rotates weekly among the 10 to 13 host congregations in a Network. In turn, each host congregation provides lodging, three meals daily, and hospitality.
- Day Center
- Guests use a local day center from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM, where the IHN director, a professional social worker, provides case management services. There, guests pursue employment, tend pre-school children, shower, and do laundry. The day center provides guests with a mailing address and a base for housing and employment searches. Many guests are employed during the day, and older children attend school.
- Volunteers are the heart of the program. They can share their time and talents in many ways, usually just for a few hours every three months.
- Cooking and serving meals
- Playing with children and helping them with homework
- Staying overnight with guest families
- Providing specialized services, like resume writing or financial counseling
- Just being there for children and their families, showing them compassion and respect, and sharing a sense of community
- Social Service Agencies
- Local social service agencies refer families to the Network. The agencies may also help guests find housing, jobs, and benefits.
- An IHN van transports guests to and from the day center.
Nationally, 80 percent of the families that IHNs serve go on to long-term housing. In 2007, Family Promise affiliates served more than 31,000 children and adults and involved more than 120,000 volunteers in 5,000 congregations. *
As the IHN is being finalized in Collin County, there is still a need for Host and Resource congregations. Please consider joining this wonderful ministry.
More information on Family Promise can be found at http://www.familypromise.org.
* Statistical information provided by the Family Promise website.