Northwest Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network is searching for a new home.
For the past six years, the Mount Airy-based nonprofit serving the homeless sub-leased space from the Neighborhood Interfaith Movement at 7047 Germantown Ave.
NIM suddenly closed on Nov. 29 after filing for bankruptcy. The organization was unable to overcome an ongoing budget deficit and reduced support from two major funding sources.
NIM, a social advocacy and service-focused nonprofit, continues to use the rental property as a base for winding down the operation, but is expected to be completely moved out by the end of February.
“It’s the messiest mess,” said Rachel Falkove, executive director of the Interfaith Hospitality Network.
The network uses the building not only for offices, but also as a day center for the homeless families that come to the organization looking for help in building a new, stable life.
The network works with a collection of congregations in Northwest and Northeast Philadelphia to provide families with food and a place to stay as they work to get back on their feet. The day center was created as a means of respecting the generosity of each congregation.
“Our model works because we don’t overwhelm a congregation all day long,” said Falkove.
The day center acts as both a resource center and a place for relaxation. Family members can get help with their resume or use a computer, for example, but also rest their eyes or wash up if needed. The space contained a shower, refrigerator and a couch.
Moving forward, Falkove said the organization will have to find a property where it can continue those services – ideally in Mount Airy.
So far, finding a place that is both big enough and affordable hasn’t been easy.
“None of the situations are really perfect,” said Falkove, noting that four area congregations have reached out and offered space. Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia is another possibility.
As the sub-lessee, Falkove’s nonprofit was responsible for a third of the $5,400 monthly rent. The building is owned by Ken Weinstein, a major landlord and entrepreneur in Northwest Philadelphia.
While separate operations, the two nonprofits also shared a number of office services, including a mega copier, Internet provider and phone system. The nonprofits also had the same receptionist and housekeeping service.
With NIM no longer part of the equation, the Interfaith Hospitality Network must now budget for those services – several thousand dollars combined – in addition to what could be a higher monthly rent. Those are expenses not accounted for in its roughly $410,000 annual budget.
“It kind of finished off a year that kind of wasn’t the best year [in terms of fundraising],” said Falkove.
NIM’s closure, however, will not sink the Interfaith Hospitality Network. Falkove said the organization is on stable financial footing.
“We’ll survive this,” she said.