Interfaith Hospitality Network of the Main Line Logo

Mission Statement

Our mission is to help families experiencing homelessness and low-income families achieve sustainable independence through a community-based response.

Our Vision

A nation in which every family has a home, a livelihood, and the chance to build a better future.

Statement on Equality and Non-Discrimination

Interfaith Hospitality Network of the Main Line serves families of all compositions. We welcome everyone in the community to be part of the solution to empower families experiencing homelessness and ultimately retain and regain the safety, security, and opportunity that comes with having a home.

Statement on Racism

It is impossible to separate systemic and structural racism from the reality that people of color, and Black people, in particular, are disproportionately affected by homelessness and poverty. Interfaith Hospitality Network of the Main Line is committed to being an anti-racist organization. We will educate and engage ourselves, our stakeholders, and the community to work towards overcoming racism, so that race no longer defines who has housing.

Our Core Values

Hospitality

Interfaith Hospitality Network of the Main Line is more than shelter—we are hospitality in action. Our volunteers are companions to families, sharing meals, community connections, and compassion so families can focus on achieving their goals.

Empathy

Interfaith Hospitality Network of the Main Line provides highly individualized, person-centered, trauma-informed care. Empathy is at the center of all we do, and we take the time to understand all perspectives. This ensures we deliver excellent service to our guests and maintain a productive and enjoyable work environment.

Community

Interfaith Hospitality Network of the Main Line builds bridges among neighbors, bringing together existing resources to fulfill our mission. The relationships between family members, volunteers, and staff are transformative and power a national movement of communities committed to solving the crisis of family homelessness.

Dynamic

Interfaith Hospitality Network of the Main Line is a dynamic organization, taking a holistic approach to ending family homelessness. Our services, advocacy, and leadership are nimble and future-focused, providing customized and evolving solutions.

Innovative

Interfaith Hospitality Network of the Main Line is innovative and entrepreneurial. We create original programs in response to local needs. These grassroots initiatives are replicated in communities of all shapes and sizes across the country.

Empowerment

Interfaith Hospitality Network of the Main Line empowers all stakeholders – family members, volunteers, donors, community members, businesses, and government officials – to effect change in their communities so families can achieve economic stability and children can access a brighter future.

Our History

In 1989 an interfaith group of concerned citizens interested in helping homeless families met with Karen Olson, the founder of the first Interfaith Hospitality Network (now called Family Promise), to discuss the possibility of creating an IHN along the Main Line of Philadelphia. After two years of careful planning, they established the Interfaith Hospitality Network of the Main Line (IHN-ML) to provide services to homeless families and formed a network of congregations to provide shelter, meals, and hospitality to these families.

Rev. George Hollingshead led this group as the first Board Chairperson. He had the help of Rev. William Cherry, Vice-Chairperson; Paul Lichtman, Treasurer; Joe Betz, Secretary; Anne Pilgrim, Executive Director; and many more volunteers who worked together to make their vision a reality.

IHN – Main Line became incorporated in November 1991, and we received our non-profit status in June 1992. Our first host congregations included: Ardmore Presbyterian Church, Ardmore United Methodist Church, Beth David Reform Congregation, Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church, Central Baptist Church, Our Mother of Good Counsel, St. John Neumann Church, and St. Thomas of Villanova Parish.

On May 3, 1992, Sister Anne Woodeshick opened the doors of Our Mother of Good Counsel’s school for the first homeless family we served, a mother and her two daughters. All went well that first night and all these years later Our Mother of Good Counsel and our current host congregations are still opening their doors to homeless families and providing them with a safe place to sleep and have a good meal.

It does not stop there. Back in 1993 Anne Pilgrim said, “I was talking to someone who had been in a nice shelter. I asked if this is a nice shelter and she said, ‘This is not a shelter. This is an up-and-out place.’ And that’s what we want to be here. We will push you and push you and push you….”

That continues to be the philosophy of IHN–ML today. As it states in our mission, we use the energy of community volunteers to assist families who seek to be accountable, resilient, and strive for a better tomorrow for their families. The objective of our core program, now called the Network Self-Sufficiency Program, is not only to provide shelter for the night but also to give our families the building blocks they need to become permanently self-sufficient.

Over the years we have provided other programs to homeless families. In 2010 and 2011 we partnered with the Salvation Army to assist three families in a Transitional Housing Program. And then again in 2011 we transferred the 3rd floor apartment in our Day Center to an interim housing unit to be used by graduate families of our Network Self-Sufficiency Program. It continues to provide short term housing to families.

In 2013 we began our Housing for Success Program providing stable housing to families as they pursue an advanced skill or education degree. We believe education is the best way to break the cycle of poverty and this program provides stable housing for a family as they gain the education they need to lift them out of poverty.

How do I get Involved?

Make a Donation

Volunteer

We succeed through the help of volunteers like you, who care about making a difference in the community.

Find out more here!

Become a Partner

We have great partnerships with businesses of all kinds to help support our mission.

Find out more here!

Congregations Welcome

IHN-ML has active religious institutions that help provide services and support for families in need.

Find out more here!

We are proud of our families and all that they achieve during their stay in our network.

Here are some testimonials from families we helped, and Volunteers that work with IHN-ML.