Network Of Religious Groups Provides Help for Homeless

February 12, 2009

Author: Debbie Kelley

Source: The Gazette

Like other local organizations that help the homeless, the Interfaith Hospitality Network of Colorado Springs has been inundated with calls about its program as unemployment and other economic hardships beset more families used to a steady income.

"People who have never been homeless before are now in that situation," said Nancy Cornwell, case manager for IHN.

The local IHN is one of 146 such organizations in the nation that provide a full range of services to homeless families with the goal of making them self-sufficient.

During the day, from IHN's office in a large home in downtown Colorado Springs, adult clients look for jobs on donated computers, do laundry, take showers, deal with financial or personal issues and work toward securing a residence. At night, the families rely on Christian, Jewish and Buddhist congregations to provide overnight lodging and meals at their houses of worship.

Since the local organization started in 1996, clients primarily have been single moms with children, said Tom Agnew, co-executive with his wife, Bev. But last year, as the economy worsened, one-third of its 27 families - 105 adults and children - were headed by two parents, and another one-third by single dads.

See also: Interfaith, Civic