The problem of poverty is complex. It won’t yield to a simple solution or a quick fix. It requires an integrated approach that begins with meeting immediate needs but reaches much further to help people achieve independence and to alleviate the root causes of poverty.
Founded in 2011 by The Greater Concord Interfaith Council, our Interfaith Hospitality Network of congregations and volunteers meet homeless families’ immediate needs for shelter, meals, and comprehensive support services in a non-sectarian program.
A mother loses her job; a father is kept from working by an injury; a family is forced from their home by fire or natural disaster. Healthcare costs soar; public transportation is limited; and affordable housing is almost impossible to find. These are the reasons why families turn to us for help.
Typically referred by social service agencies, all of our guests are carefully screened, including criminal background checks. Applicants with alcohol or drug-related problems are not accepted.
How It Works
There are five key components in each Interfaith Hospitality Network (IHN).
1. HOSTS Hosting rotates weekly among the 10 to 13 host congregations in a Network. In turn, each host congregation provides lodging, two or three meals daily, and hospitality.
2. DAY CENTER Guests who are not employed make use of a local day center from about 7 AM to 5 PM, where a professional social worker provides case management services. The day center provides guests with a mailing address and a base for housing and employment searches. There, guests shower, do laundry, and tend pre-school children, while older children are attending school.
Volunteers are the heart of the program. They can share their time and talents in many ways, usually for only 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
4. TRANSPORTATION An Family Promise van transports guests to and from the day center.
5. SOCIAL SERVICE AGENCIES Local social service agencies may help guests find housing, jobs, and benefits.