IHN has sheltered families for 10 years
I am responding to an article titled "Shelter for homeless families planned" on March 31.
I am the president of the board of Interfaith Hospitality Network of Greater Rochester. We are a network of 47 area faith communities from Kasson, Byron, Pine Island, Plainview, Elgin, Eyota, St. Charles, Stewartville and Rochester, with more than 1,400 volunteers who help families who find themselves homeless in our area.
We are celebrating our 10th year and have helped more than 264 families. That is more than 757 people, 519 of whom are children, and 238 were under age 5.
Our program has grown to not only work with families in immediate crisis, providingï»¿ï»¿ emergency shelter; we also have added a transitional house and a follow-along program; wherein we follow our families for a year after they find housing — to make sure they maintain their stability and keep their children in school. This stability becomes a norm for the families — instead of homelessness.
During the past five years, we started keeping track of the return on investment of the families that graduate from our program. We have saved more than $150,000 of public funding by helping families get good jobs and then can be taken off programs like MFIP, food stamps and medical assistance. We provide life skills training classes for our families so they can continue to move up and out of the cycle of homelessness — caused by low income, no jobs, health issues and more.
We will be celebrating with our network faith communities, volunteers, and partners at a 10th Anniversary Celebration in May. Thanks to all who have made IHN a success — and please know there is a family shelter in Olmsted County that does help families achieve and sustain their independence.
Rev. Paul Bauch
Interfaith Hospitality Network