This evening dessert will be a great celebration of our ministry, partnerships and community. For this event to be most successful, we need to fill the Red Lion Hotel at 7:00pm with our current Salem IHN supporters, those who need to be inspired again, and those who might join Salem IHN in ministry for the first time. I encourage you to be there! I also encourage you to invite someone who needs to know about Salem IHN and become a supporter of our work! This is our annual fundraiser, but there is no charge to attend. If you are interested in attending please e-mail email@example.com or calling (503) 370-9752. Thanks and see you May 30th at The Red Lion Hotel!!
Having to prove you exist is a giant barrier to homeless families, to say the least. The ability to access most shelters, jobs, apartments, or resources is dependent upon the existence of a current identification card, birth certificate, or social security card, if not all of these documents. The process alone to obtain these is a barrier all in itself.
When Allen entered our program he had no proof that he existed, other than the social security numbers he could remember in his head and an expired Costco membership card with his photo. His wallet had been stolen a few weeks back and he did not have the money to request new ones or copies. After meeting with him in person it was clear to us that he was someone who could be trusted completely. Allen has always been a hardworking, respectful, and honest man as well as a diligent father while with us.
After he settled into the network we connected him with programs that could get him a copy of his out of state birth certificate and a replacement photo identification card through the DMV. Unfortunately, in order to get a replacement social security card, a current Oregon I.D. was necessary, which could only be issued with a social security card. You can see the predicament here. We were eventually able to find old tax returns that aided in the processing of his state I.D. so he could request his other documentations, something that took us three days of phone calls to figure out. In fact figuring out a way to prove he existed to the DMV without a social security card, took around five weeks in itself. Afterwards we were told it would take anywhere from four to ten more weeks to receive his documents. In the end, after approximately ten weeks, Allen was able to look for employment.
There are many barriers to seeking the most basic of needs within our community. Our Network not only provides safe shelter, food and hospitality – we are a program that shows a little faith in our neighbors. I am honored and blessed to work at Salem Interfaith Hospitality Network where many of us have joined together to faithfully follow Isaiah 58:7: “Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter–when you see the naked, clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?”
Day after day, we are making a lasting difference in the families we serve. I’m happy to report that Allen is now employed and his family lives in their own home. Thanks for faithfully supporting the Network as we strive to end family homelessness in the Salem area.
Last week we sent a mass mail to volunteers, donors and churches that support Salem Interfaith Hospitality Network. Due to an error with the company that handles our mass mailing, duplicates were sent. Needless to say, it was never our intention to send multiple copies. Salem IHN has been reimbursed for the expense of duplicates and we are putting steps in place to be sure this never happens again.
In 2012, 97% of monies received went to direct service of our guests and we expect a similar result this year. This event underscores our mission and importance to using allocating all of our resources to help end family homelessness in the Salem area.
We sincerely apologize for this error and thank you in advance for understanding.
Have you ever had a dream come true only to see it taken away for some unforeseen reason? This is what happened to Dan, Courtney and their daughter Lilana – whose story you may remember from our February Newsletter. Their story as a couple started with “love at first sight” at Wal-Mart in southern California. “This economy” kicked in and they both lost their jobs forcing them to move into their cousin’s garage in Salem. Their family also spent a couple nights in their Ford Explorer just to stay out of the rain.
Dan and family contacted various social service agencies in town until they were pointed in the direction of Salem Interfaith Hospitality Network. Without hesitation, we opened our doors to our new guests. Your generosity made it possible.
In 1997 the dream for SIHN to provide shelter for homeless families started. Churches, community leaders began meeting and on May 23, 1999 Salem IHN welcomed our first guest. In the last 13 years the faith community has helped almost 500 families, over 1500 people, stay together and they’re thriving. Each family, the community and our churches are grateful for your spirit to keep this ministry going. Your generosity has kept this dream alive. From the bottom of our hearts, we all are grateful.
I am now writing to ask you to prayerfully consider a financial donation this holiday season to Salem IHN. Your donation ensures families like Dan, Courtney and Liliana – and the dozens of others who we serve – can continue to be welcomed at Salem IHN. They will always find warmth, safety and shelter waiting for them here.
Dan, Courtney and family are working toward their dream of having a home and are growing as a family. Their dream is looking up because of the generosity of people like you.
Join with us at Salem IHN as we provide hope this holiday season. And thank you in advance for your generosity.
We could not do all that we do without the help of dedicated and passionate support from you! Our Day Center in West Salem has a few needs – Take a look below and see if you can help by making a donation to us!
- Bedding (Pillows and Blankets)
- Body Wash
- Hair Conditioner
- Gently Used Furniture
- Laundry Soap
- Educational DVD’s
- Diapers (Sizes 3-6) and Wipes
- Paper Towels
Feel free to drop off your donation at the Day Center. Your donation to Salem Interfaith Hospitality Network is tax-deductible and directly helps homeless families.
For more information contact T.J. Putman
After starting as director in January, I quickly realized that Salem Interfaith Hospitality Network is great at many things, especially hospitality (Makes, sense – it’s in the name). You, our staff, our volunteers come together alongside families, loving them by providing warm meals, conversations and safe shelter. Last year these families, our guests, averaged 30 days in our churches before 91% moved into their own homes – remarkable achievement! This number is not an accident; I believe it’s a testament to the strength of our faith community in Salem.
Over the past thirteen years we’ve assisted approximately 450 families to find homes because of support from people like you. Yet, families still struggle, coming face to face with homelessness, fear and despair.
I believe as an organization we can do more. Salem IHN will work diligently to end this struggle. Using Matthew 11:28 as a guide, Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Together, we will work to end family homelessness, end the struggles and worry that consume their lives.
The Staff and Board of Trustees at Salem IHN recently began to plan what it would look like to accomplish this goal. As we continue to stabilize and strengthen each family through the Interfaith Hospitality Network and the amazing programs at your churches, we will continue to advocate and place them in homes; while moving forward with a ‘Family Promise’. At the basic form, we’re going to put as many tools as we can in each family’s toolbox. Tools that help them build their resources and their team so they’ll never face homeless again. We see the following three promises as a springboard to help families be successful long term:
A Promise to Financial Literacy – For many homeless families, their difficulty with budgeting was a significant contributing factor leading to their homelessness. As a result, throughout their residency and after they return to the community, families will participate in ongoing programming focused on their own budgeting. Families prepare an individualized budget, attend financial literacy classes, and meet regularly with a budgeting counselor to be sure they are on track and living within their means and goals.
A Promise to Work – Salem IHN will be a leader in the Salem community that empowers our guests with a strong and comprehensive program focused on obtaining and retaining employment. Our staff and trained volunteers will work together to: assess and address barriers to employment, provide individualized job search support, assist our unemployed guests into the workplace then empower with job retention skills,
A Promise to be a Great Parent – Our parenting groups will provide a safe environment where families can learn from each other. The classes will cover topics such as: self-care, stress and anger management, communication skills and positive approaches to discipline. The courses will build on family strengths and help parents of all backgrounds develop a strong support network to help their kids be successful.
Our community has the answer to ending family homelessness. It starts with our gifts of hospitality and relationships, then continues with a smile, a meal and compassion. It begins with you.
In order to fully implement these Family Promise programs, we need to raise $25,000. I invite you to stand with us and support us, our past, present and future guest and our congregations in this endeavor. I invite you to be a part of the answer that ends family homelessness our community.
Salem Interfaith Hospitality Network
This evening dessert will be a great celebration of our ministry, partnerships and community. For this event to be most successful, we need to fill the room with our current Salem IHN supporters, those who need to be inspired again, and those who might join Salem IHN in ministry for the first time. I encourage you to be there! I also encourage you to invite someone who needs to know about Salem IHN and become a supporter of our work! This is our annual fundraiser, but there is no charge to attend. If you are interested in attending please E-Mail firstname.lastname@example.org or calling (503) 370-9752. Thanks and see you May 17th!
For most elementary aged children, it is hard to match the excitement that comes with your birthday. The pleasure of turning a year older is only bested by the excitement of a huge party with all of your friends, tearing into present after present and eating enough sugar and cake to send a grownup into diabetic shock.
For soon-to-be eleven year old Hannah Lott, all she wants for her birthday on April 20th is to make a difference.
That idea blossomed in Hannah’s mind after watching a show on the Disney channel where she learned about a young girl who collected shoes to send to Africa. She brought that idea to her parents, Angie and Bill, but with an interesting twist, Hannah wanted to do it locally.
Earlier in the month Salem Interfaith Hospitality Network sent a young guest to cheerleading camp (We do everything to keep kids’ lives as normal as possible) at West Salem High School, where Hannah’s older sister cheers. Her family remembered our ministry and we are a few blocks from their home in West Salem. Hannah did more research, then came forward and said she wanted to dedicate her birthday to us. When she became aware of the financial burden homeless families encounter paying for diapers her eyes lit up and said, “That’s what I want to do!” Instead of presents; Hannah would ask help supporting her Diaper Drive for Salem IHN.
She went to her elementary school’s student council and asked for help spreading the word. She gathered a couple of friends and made homemade signs explaining Salem Interfaith Hospitality Network and The Diaper Drive. She posted them in her neighborhood, at her school and asked her parents to post them at their work.
Angie Lott, Hannah’s mom, shared the diaper drive with her colleagues at PH Tech. Shortly after, box after box of diapers came in. PH Tech caught wind of the mission and will now match each employee’s donation.
Hannah wanted to involve as many people as possible from her elementary school. Her family and I brainstormed ideas on how to share the Salem Interfaith Hospitality Network Message and get people involved! We came up with an idea for Salem IHN to sponosor her birthday party – at A.C. Gilbert’s Discovery Village, which can hold 350 people. Hannah went on to invite the entire 3rd, 4th and 5th grade classes at her school.
“As parents we can learn a lot from Hannah’s giving heart,” said Angie. “It’s a nice reminder we are here for another purpose – that when we’re faithful to God’s call we can make a difference”
I grew up in Salem, Oregon and one of my favorite memories as a child was riding my bike around the Grant neighborhood. My friends and I would enjoy the long summer days peddling and playing “Cops and Robbers” or “Cowboys and Indians”. We would race around the blocks as fast as we possibly could, but there were always two distinct sides; that consistent “us vs. them” rivalry.
I moved back to Salem in the middle of football season to witness the ultimate “us vs. them” rivalry: OSU Beavers vs. Oregon Ducks. Coming from a family of die-hard Beaver fans, I never realized the magnitude of this rivalry until I brought a girlfriend home to dinner, a University of Oregon Graduate and extremely passionate Ducks fan. During dinner, I could cut the tension with a knife – it was that thick.
Before I started as Executive Director at Salem IHN I believed some common misconceptions of homelessness. Though I did believe that homeless were still people; I also believed they dealt with alcoholism, some had no ambition to get a job, and were perhaps a little crazy. I thought homeless people slept under bridges and held signs asking for beer, money, or food. These misconceptions affect the best of us, and it is easy for those of us not in need to remain comfortable in our “have” and turn a blind eye to the “have not” side of life.
I recently heard a story about a family, Erin and her daughters Sophia and Jessica, who went to serve as volunteer evening hosts for Salem IHN at their local church. Erin mentioned to her children that they were going to serve the homeless and they would even see children their age. Once they arrived and met the children, everyone played, did crafts, ate dinner – just had a great time! When they got home Sophia, age 7, asked their mom, “When are we going to go meet the homeless people?”
Instead of focusing on who has what, let’s continue break down those barriers and work together. It is so encouraging to see nearly 200 volunteers this year blowing the stereotypical “us and them” thinking out of the water. You and I have come together in the faith community to love the 50 guests that Salem IHN served this year. I challenge you to not let it stop— pray for someone, show kindness, respect, and get involved! We are making a difference in our community.
It’s a blessing to serve with you!
Living without a safe, warm place to sleep, without a place to enjoy a home-cooked meal or care for young children; this is what it means to be homeless. While the loss of a home is a crisis for anyone, it is particularly devastating for families. Felix, Mari, and their 10 year old daughter, Destiny who are current guests of Salem Interfaith Hospitality Network, recently experienced this tragic loss.
Their story began at Walmart where they worked. For Felix, it was love at first sight, but for Mari it was a more gradual development. Things between them were going well until Felix lost his job. Being the resourceful couple that they are, the family was able to live off Mari’s salary until ‘this economy’ turned things upside-down and Mari was laid off. I can only imagine the heartbreaking conversation where Felix and Mari looked in each others eyes and said two words that could move any parent to tears: “What now?” Felix, Mari, and Destiny were forced to uproot their lives in southern California to live in their hard-headed cousin’s garage in Salem, Oregon. They had a roof over their head, but no heat on cold winter nights. The relationship between Felix and his cousin deteriorated point where they were unable to speak. Each family actually hid food in their rooms – clearly Felix and his family were not wanted.
Until recently, many people believed that only alcoholics or the mentally ill made up the homeless population. However, these stereotypes have never accurately portrayed homeless people and certainly do not reflect today’s sad reality. In fact, families with young children are the fastest growing segment of those without homes.
The cause of family homelessness is simply the lack of sufficient income to maintain decent, affordable housing. Many families find themselves caught in the growing gap between family income and the cost of housing. Those families who rent are often only one paycheck away from homelessness. The loss of a job, an increase in rent, sudden illness, or the lack of family support – any one of these issues can drive a family to the “what now?” conversation.
How do families prevent homelessness? In this economy, is that even possible? Is there an answer? Isaiah 58:7 states: “Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter – - when you see the naked, clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?” Many have joined together through Salem Interfaith Hospitality Network in tangible ways to provide real help and compassion to families like Felix, Mari, and Destiny.
Please, prayerfully consider becoming a financial supporter of Salem Interfaith Hospitality Network. You are making a difference. Thank you for the chance to work together as we help families find a permanent solution.
For more information E-Mail our office or call (503) 370-9752