IHN is a network of over 25 churches and other groups in the Spokane region who work together to bring shelter, meals, and support services to families without homes. Part of the design of IHN is to use existing community resources, like churches and other faith communities, to minimize costs and mobilize people who are already eager to help in meaningful ways.
Millwood Presbyterian is a Host church for IHN, which means that four times a year we host up to four homeless families on the church campus for a week at a time. As part of that responsibility we provide meals, friendship, and bedrooms to the families from 5 pm each evening to 7am the following morning. Guests use a local day center from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM, where the IHN director, a professional social worker, provides case management services. There, guests pursue employment, tend pre-school children, shower, and do laundry. The day center provides guests with a mailing address and a base for housing and employment searches. Many guests are employed during the day, while older children attend school. The families are screened by the professional staff at the Day Center to ensure they are not on drugs or a danger to any volunteers or other guests.
There are several opportunities to volunteer at Millwood Presbyterian during the weeks we are hosting that include:
- Cooking and serving meals.
- Hosting dinner which includes sharing the meal, playing with children or helping them with homework, and Interacting with guests, with respect and compassion.
- Serving as an overnight host, spending the night at the church.
- Driving the van for transport to and from the Day Center
The national organization, now called Family Promise, describes the mission in this way; "Our mission is to help low-income families nationwide achieve lasting independence and to redress the underlying causes of poverty and homelessness. Family Promise was founded on the belief that Americans are compassionate people who want to make a difference. Our promise has been to link those in need with those who want to help. Seventeen years and 110,000 volunteers later, our pledge is ever broader and deeper."