How we are handling COVID-19

The Interfaith Hospitality Network of Essex County is dedicated to providing a safe environment for our IHN guest families, congregations, volunteers, and staff. In the last few weeks, we have provided extensive training about how to prevent and contain COVID-19. While we are continuing to serve our families, we have made modifications to our program to ensure the safety and health of the community. 

  • Our After School and Rental Assistance Programs have been suspended until they can be safely resumed.
  • Our families currently in our emergency rotational shelter program will continue to stay at the Park United Methodist Church Mission House until March 29, 2020. We have set up protocols to ensure minimal contact when volunteers deliver meals. For the time being, overnight volunteering has been suspended. In addition to those who are dropping off food, our staff will be checking in with the families multiple times a day. The families have also been given phone numbers to call should they have any questions or concerns.
  • For the families currently in our shelter program, we are working as quickly as possible to expedite permanent housing placements. Once current families are placed, we will not be accepting additional families into the shelter program until it is safe for our families, volunteers and staff to resume activities.
  • As of today, we do not anticipate using the rotational shelter system in any congregation until it is safe for all involved to do so. If your congregation has a week coming up, please feel free to let your volunteers know that they will not be needed at this time. If we have families in the shelter program who are not permanently placed by March 29, 2020 we will be in touch with specific congregations about either hosting those families or donating dollars to ensure we can house the families in hotels.
  • Our offices located in Central Presbyterian Church are closed. Staff will be working remotely until such time as Central Presbyterian opens back up and it is safe to return to the office.
  • We have postponed all fundraising events for the time being.

Although we are working remotely, staff members are available via email should you need any assistance. We also care deeply about our IHN volunteers, particularly those who are most at risk from the virus. If you are a current volunteer and need a food delivery of your own or other help during this crisis time, please contact us at info@ihnessexnj.org. At IHN, we like to look out for those who help take care of our families. While we cannot promise we can meet all needs, if we can help, we will. We will provide you with further updates as they arise. The need to pay for food and shelter for the families still in our program and the continuation of staff responsibilities, without government dollars coming in or fundraisers being held is a real concern. If you can send a donation to IHN in lieu of volunteering, we would be incredibly grateful. Every dollar counts. We promise to provide you with further updates as they arise. Please stay safe and healthy!