Three Northeast congregations join Interfaith Hospitality Network

Three congregations around the Northeast have agreed to participate in the Interfaith Hospitality Network, the Northwest Philadelphia-based organization that enlists the help of churches to act as temporary housing for families experiencing homelessness.

Faith Lutheran Church at 4150 Woodhaven Rd., Rhawnhurst Presbyterian at 7701 Lorretto Ave., and Oxford Circle Mennonite at 900 Howell St., will begin taking in families starting in August.

Executive Director Rachel Falkove announced at Thursday’s Upper Holmesburg Civic Association meeting to announce the inclusion of those three congregations and seek volunteer services from others. But she’s been discussing the network with Northeast faith leaders for the last two years, and was at the March Lawncrest Community Association meeting to explain how the program works.

In short, the program provides services for families going through transition. Falkove said all participants go through criminal background checks before they begin staying with congregations, which can also provide meal an transportation services. Families spend short periods of time with each participating congregation until the family gets back on its feet.

Though Upper Holmesburg residents had many of the same concerns about the program as those in Lawncrest did, Falkove insisted the network won’t set up a large intake shelter. She said the network’s Northeast-based program will help families in the Northeast who would otherwise need to seek out shelter service in an unfamiliar neighborhood.

Interfaith Hospitality Network has been in Philadelphia since 1991, but began operating in other parts of the country almost three decades ago.

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