Salem Interfaith Hospitality Network Helps Families

Posted on July 9, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Imagine living without a safe, warm place to sleep, without a place to enjoy a home-cooked meal or place to care for your 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. Traditional emergency shelters care for families with the men going one place and the women going another. Salem Interfaith Hospitality Network is a unique extension of our local faith community that works to meet that need.

Salem Interfaith Hospitality Network was established in 1999 as part of Family Promise based in New Jersey. They are a network of faith communities that share the responsibilities associated with helping families get on their feet and out of the cycle of homelessness. Currently they have 16 hosting congregations that welcome up to four families, for a week at a time on a rotating basis. They also have 15 support faith communities that assist host sites with additional volunteer and material support. After spending the night at a host church, families are transported to Salem Interfaith Hospitality Network’s Day Center in West Salem. There, adults receive intensive case management which provides assistance in finding the necessary services. Young children are looked after and older children attend school.

Check out their website, or like them on Facebook ( and see if your congregation would like to be a part of the answer to end family homelessness in the Salem area. Join their volunteer efforts and serve alongside your neighbors in faith! If your faith community is not a partner or you don’t attend a faith community – No problem! Check out the HandsOn website, to see the great volunteer opportunities available in their day center. Volunteers are needed for everything from mowing the lawn to being a “Shelter Grandparent” and spending time with children while their parents meet with case managers.

Salem Interfaith Hospitality Network strives to offer families basic needs and support  as they work towards gaining their independence while maintaining dignity and self-esteem. They cannot solve all problems for families but they can help them along their difficult journey.

Melissa Gibler is the program manager for HandsOn Mid-Willamette Valley—a program of Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action Agency. She can be reached at (877) 372-4141, or



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