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Houses of Worship Working Together to Help Homeless Families

Interfaith Hospitality Network will give families places to stay while they look for permanent housing.

Several Wayne houses of worship are working together to help homeless families.

Nine churches and synagogues are in the process of joining with others in Passaic County to create the Interfaith Hospitality Network (IHN). The IHN will be part of Family Promise of Passaic County (FPPC), a non-profit organization that helps homeless and low-income families. The organization is one of more than 170 Family Promise chapters in the United States.

IHM will give homeless families the opportunity to stay at a particular house of worship for a week while they look for a permanent place to live.

“Families often have to face the choice of being separated,” said Susan Shane, a member of  and one of the group’s founders. “We’re trying to provide an option where they don’t have to be separate while they wait for a stable situation to happen.”

Homeless shelters often do not take families with adult or teenage males. Instead, those individuals are often sent to another shelter or halfway house.

“That’s the very problem we’re trying to address,” Shane said. “A lot of these families have lost their livelihoods and their homes, the last thing they want is to be separated.”

Up to 14 people, or four families, can be in the program at the same time.

If at the end of the week a family is still without a permanent home they will be moved to the next house of worship in town.

Jim Andreano, president of FPPC, said that during the day families would be taken to the group’s Day Center, which will have showers and computers for them to use. Volunteers will also help individuals fill out job applications and help them network with employers. The group is looking for a suitable location for the center. 

Houses of worship typically sign up to house families for four weeks a year, but some have signed up for fewer than that. A few more houses of worship are needed to participate before the program can begin.

Family Promise will train volunteers who want to help.

The following houses of worship have agreed to participate in the IHN: , , , , , , , , and Packanack Community.

The group is also accepting monetary donations. Volunteers are also needed to help at the Day Center.

Monetary donations may be sent to Family Promise of Passaic County, care of Packanack Community Church, 120 Lake Drive East, Wayne NJ 07470.

For more information, call Andreano at 973-713-9674 or e-mail him at jimandreano@gmail.com.

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