Club News

Club meeting, June 14, 2017 - Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network
Rachel Falkove, executive director of the Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network (PIHN), described the organization as one that works through local religious organizations to provide housing and continuing support for homeless families. The organization started with “3 cots and a pot”where families were housed temporarily in various religious institutions and given meals. Since then some 30 to 40 congregations have signed on as partners, as well as 100 community partners, who provide many-in-kind donations. With experience, the group realized that temporary housing is an emergency, short-term solution, but does not solve long-term problems. Since then the group has worked to provide financial counseling, art therapy, psychological counseling, and other social supports. PIHN also attempts to act as a go-between between some families and landlords to obtain affordable housing, which involves commitments by both landlords and tenants. Of particular interest is the welfare of children. Now some 65 to 70 children receive scholarships for summer camp and later help in applying for jobs. The current experiences that about 90% of the children in these families graduate from high school, and about 80% enroll in college. There are currently about 145 families receiving support from the program. Rachel also described her own personal journey in working with the group as she was able move from regarding homeless families as objects of charity toward interacting with them as complete human beings.