Looking for Shelter?
Are you and your children in need of shelter? Interfaith Hospitality Network provides shelter, meals, transportation, and supportive services for families experiencing homelessness. The program is a partnership with faith communities throughout Essex County. Our program is unique in that we do not split up families. Dads and boys are able to remain with their families, keeping the family unit strong.
How the Program Works
IHN is able to meet the emergency needs of families through the hard work of a small staff and over 1,200 volunteers. Instead of living at a fixed-site shelter, families — up to three or four at a time — stay each week at a different church or synagogue in the Interfaith Hospitality Network. Congregations usually convert religious education or meeting rooms into private or semi-private bedrooms for each family. Volunteers provide breakfast, bag lunches, and a home-cooked dinner every day. Access to shower and laundry facilities are also provided.
During the day, if family members aren’t at school or work, they can come to our Family Resource Center in Montclair, N.J., to use our computers and to meet with their case manager to create an achievable vision and develop a strong foundation for self-sufficiency. IHN provides van service between the host congregations and the IHN Family Resource Center.
All guests accepted into the program may be eligible to receive phone and Internet access; assistance with housing and employment searches; opportunities for job training; day care assistance; budget management, credit counseling, and parenting and nutrition workshops.
IHN is set up to be a temporary resource to you and your family while you continue to go about your daily schedules and work toward self-reliance. This may mean looking for a place to live; looking for work; applying for social services; training or acquiring education for a job/career; saving money; and paying off debts to correct credit ratings.
IHN has guest guidelines that every family is expected to follow. Additionally, families must meet regularly with an IHN case manager to establish a realistic plan of action and to report progress on the goals from their service plan. Initial admission is for 30 days. If families complete goals that were made with their case manager and adhere to the guest guidelines, IHN may extend the stay to a maximum of 90 days.
How to Apply
An adult member of the family can email or call and speak with a case manager for an initial phone screening. Depending on availability, the family will be contacted for a face-to-face interview. If the family meets program criteria, the family will be invited into the program. This process can take 24–72 hours.