A PIHN Call to Action – Help Us Pass the HCYA Bill!

A PIHN Call to Action!

Please Ask your Congressional Representative to
Support the Homeless Children and Youth Act (HCYA)

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Dear Friends of Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network:
As you may have heard, on April 1st, 2019, the Homeless Children and Youth Act (HR 2001, HCYA) was reintroduced in the House of Representatives by Congressman Stivers (R-OH-15) and Congressman Loebsack (D-IA-2).

Attached to this email is a letter we hope you will send to your representative asking for his/her support of HR 2001, HCYA. As with the last congressional session, the Government Relations Committee of Family Promise, PIHN’s national organization, was able to provide input along with other national partners to assist in the revision of this bill, providing comments on it in draft form. https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative

HR 2001,HCYA would mandate that HUD expand eligibility for homeless programming to include children and families that are experiencing homelessness under the definition provided by the Department of Education. It would also prohibit HUD from prioritizing homeless sub-populations, allowing Continuums of Care to award funding for programming according to the local needs assessment rather than national priorities. Finally, this legislation would revise the definition of chronically homeless families—currently the head of household must have a disability to qualify. Under HCYA, anyone in the household could have the disability for the family to qualify. This could potentially open the door to additional resources for the children and the families that we serve.

PIHN is an affiliate of Family Promise representing 242 networks around the country, and has endorsed and advocated for the HCYA under the last Congress. It was bipartisan and bicameral, and passed through the House Financial Services Committee on a bipartisan vote. Having personally experienced homelessness with her family, Kat Lilley (ED of Family Promise in Colorado Springs, National Board Member, and Guest Advisory Council Member) testified to the committee on the need for HCYA. (Click here to watch Kat’s testimony) Unfortunately, the clock ran out on the bill and it was not voted on prior to the end of the congressional session. So, the bill has had to be reintroduced for the new congress.

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Will you take a few moments of your time to download this support letter, add your personal message, and email it to your Congressional Representative? It will be more impactful to hear from you than from lobbyists.

For more information:

How Can You Help?

  • Reach out to your Congressional Representatives, asking them to consider cosponsoring the bill. Attached to this email is a sample letter you can print/copy, edit, and use. If possible, insert local data and statistics in support of the legislation.

Note: Please open the attached sample letter, complete highlighted portions and email it to your Congressional Representative.

 

General Advocacy Tips and Info…

Thank you for ALL that you do!

Rachel Falkove
Executive Director

A Look Back on our 2019 Empty Plate Dinner…

A GIANT Thank You
to Our Community of Support!

Empty Plate Blog

This past Saturday, PIHN hosted one of our most remarkable Empty Plate dinners ever thanks to our supportive community throughout the city! A truly extraordinary evening of reaching milestones and paving the way toward a future where every child has a place to call home.

GIANT shoutout to our sponsors, the 70(+) restaurants who donated the delicious food, Platemakers, Open Hearts on Tour for our first year of LIVE music, the Religious Leaders Council of Greater Philadelphia for honoring us as a “Zone of Peace”, our large support net of volunteers, and finally to our lead dinner sponsor Giant Food Stores for their amazingly generous 3-year grant award announcement of $81,000 to expand our services in Northeast Philadelphia and for helping our dinner run smoothly.

THANK YOU for all of your tremendous support, we could not have done it alone.

Photos of the evening coming soon…‍‍‍

 

Families Count – Shining a Light on Family Homelessness

Families Count!

Let’s Make Sure that ALL
Experiencing Homelessness are Counted

2019-01-23-e-lee-bruce-thomas-philadelphia-city-hall-homeless-families-under-count-768x512(PIHN Executive Director, Rachel Falkove & PIHN Family, Bruce Thomas)

Last Wednesday night, an army of volunteers fanned out across the greater Philadelphia area to count the number of people sleeping on the street combined with those sleeping in shelter. The Annual Point-in Time Count (PIT) is required by the Department of housing and Urban Development to measure how municipalities across the country are doing in the national goal to eliminate homelessness and determine funding for services needed for the year ahead.

Family advocates note that the PIT frequently overlooks families, who are a hidden part of the homeless population. If families cannot find room in a shelter or don not want to be divided up, they will hide their homelessness, staying in cars, hotels, substandard properties, sleeping on couches, and living doubled up in other crowded, tense, living situations. They will rarely stay on the street because if they do, they may lose their children to the child welfare system.

fspn press conference on count-2019-01-23 (22)(FSPN coalition appeals to City Officials)

PIHN, along with a coalition of 20+ agencies of the Family Service Provider Network (FSPN), participated in a “Families Count – Uncovering Family Homelessness” Press Conference hosted by City Council members Domb and Gym, and joined by Council members Blackwell and Greenlee. This conference was held to reauest city departments to commit to collecting more accurate data to represent themany hidden families and children who interface with their departments, but are not in shelter or visible for the PIT Count.

PIHN alumni, Bruce Thomas, spoke on behalf of the many uncounted families and told of his family’s 10+ year-long journey living with families and friends, without services, supports or a housing plan. Only upon making the decision to come into shelter did things finally begin to come into place for them. After a year in our congregational shelter, Bruce’s family moved into PIHN’s Church Lane House that was so beautifully renovated last sumer thanks to many generous supporters. He, Jen, and the children recently received PHA housing and we are making plans to move in another family in to the house shortly. We would all like to thank Bruce for sharing his family’s story with City Council members and the press.

It’s the people that you don’t see, who need help also.
They didn’t know about me and my family for 10 years.” – Bruce Thomas
conference_blast3(Left to right: Joe Willard of People’s Emergency Center, Councilman Allan Domb, & Daniel Ferrell of HelpUSA)
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Click the links below to find coverage of the Press Conference By:


KYW News Radio

Generocity

WHYY


 

 


Erica’s New Car

Ericuh(Erica Meets her New Toyota)

We would like to give a well-deserved CONGRATULATIONS to PIHN Alumni, Erica Bush, on winning the shiny, red 2015 Toyota donated by Geico and Service King through the National Auto Body Association’s Recycled Rides Program! Erica was awarded her new car at our 2018 Empty Bowl Dinner held at United Lutheran Seminary after submitting a carefully written essay describing her experiences defeating homelessness, and explaining the numerous ways a new set of wheels would benefit her with general transit and her commute to a new position as an RN. Erica had this to say:

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“Dear Friends from Geico, Service King, Recycled Rides and the National Auto Body Association,

My daughter and I would like to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your kindness and generosity. I cannot find the right words to truly tell you how grateful I am to be the recipient of this reliable, shiny, great car!

Your selfless acts of kindness have been shown in every way. This car was prepped by people with huge hearts willing to help someone. I thank you for all of your time, thoughtfulness, and expertise. You have helped me in a tremendous way.

As a person who has experienced homelessness twice (many life struggles) to becoming a recent college graduate with a living wage job offer—I want to let you know that this car will get me to that job, bring stability and make a huge difference in my life.

And of course, to my friends at Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network and the Inter-Faith Housing Alliance:  You are all beautiful people. Thank you so very much for accompanying me on my 10- year journey to stability.  It sometimes takes a village and this village has clearly been there for me!!!

With Love,
Erica Bush”

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Erica’s story is what PIHN strives to narrate with all the work we do. We could not be more proud of Erica for overcoming her fight with homelessness and would like to thank Recycled Rides, as well as Geico this year, for delivering refurbished cars to alumni from our program over the years.  Best of luck to you with your new position Erica!

We’ve Had a BOWL of a Time!

Celebrating Two Decades of Empty Bowl!

Thank You for ALL the Support You’ve Given

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(PIHN’s 2018 Empty Bowl Dinner)

Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network’s 20th Annual Empty Bowl Dinner ushered in this Season of Thanks for PIHN’s community of families, volunteers and supporters.. One attendee described the experience as “like being in a roomful of love.” The dinner was a feast for our eyes and bellies-with soups and desserts donated by 65 local restaurants and community groups, dished out in beautiful bowls donated from over 25 different pottery programs and clay artists.   Even the beautiful floral center pieces were donated by two local garden clubs

Congratulations to PIHN alum, Erica Bush, on winning the shiny, red 2015 Toyota donated by Geico and Service King through the National Auto Body Association’s Recycled Rides Program!

Many thanks to our host United Lutheran Seminary, and for all the tremendous assistance we have received from our Corporate Sponsors, Advertisers, Restaurant Donors, Bread & Cake makers, Home Bakers, Soup Schleppers and our 100+ volunteers! Kudos to our Empty Bowl Committee headed by our Queen of Soups, Cynthia LaLone, and assisted by LaVerne M. Jones and Shirlyn Swann. Shout outs to PIHN staff: Bob Byrne, Christian Gordon Scott, Emmanuel Philor, Deb Kish Silver, Keyonnee Thalia, who worked hard to promote the dinner and keep all running smoothly.

Arcadia EBD
(Arcadia University’s 2018 Empty Bowl Dinner)

Additionally, a BIG thanks to Arcadia University for hosting their own 25th annual Empty Bowl Dinner in support of PIHN 2 nights before our dinner on November 14th. It was a great week of pottery, fellowship and soup! Both events together, raised nearly $40,000 in support of PIHN’s work to prevent and alleviate family homelessness.

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Check out the photos from the evening above and on our Facebook Page,
and we so look forward to seeing you next year!

There is TRULY No Place Like Home!


(PIHN’s Ozzy 5k Runners)

Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network would like to give a huge THANK YOU to all who participated in our first annual “There’s No NPlace Like Home” 5k! It was so rewarding to see all of the Oz costumes in support of PIHN’s Homelessness Prevention Program. Since beginning our goal to raise $10,000, we are very pleased to announce that it has been far surpassed. This year, PIHN has raised a total $14,733 in funds to prevent homelessness in Philadelphia, and we could not have done it without you! Your steps have made milestones, and we couldn’t be more grateful for our AMAZING community!

Check out our Photo Album [HERE] and on our Facebook!

Auf Wiedersehen!

Saying Goodbye to Our Boys

Thank You David and Jakob!

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We can’t believe a whole year is over for our dedicated German Volunteers! After spending an exciting year of service in PIHN’s program, volunteers David Bock and Jakob Becker have finally gone back home. We would like to make a special thank you to these two who were the first through Action Reconciliation for Peace to help out as a pair! The time the boys spent dedicated to PIHN has meant the world to us and our families.

Thanks guys, for moving families, cleaning, organizing, and building some genuine connections with so many of the kids in our program! We want to wish the very best to David who is headed to England to study music production, and Jakob who is headed to Germany pursuing his life in fine arts. Please take care guys, Auf Wiedersehen!

Rehab a Home, House a Family

We’re Almost There!
Rehab a Home, House a Family

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PIHN owns a house in a rapidly developing section of Germantown that was gifted to us 10 years ago. It has already been home to 5 families who are now homeowners and/or market rate tenants. The house is waiting for it’s next family but needs some structural rehab that must be done before we move in the Thomas family of 6. They have been in our shelter program for 6 months and were without a home for one year prior.

We are only $500 away! Our PIHN community has shown SO much support for our house rehab and as we are closing in on our online goal of $10,000, we owe it all to you! We are making tremendous progress with our house renovations and expect to move the Thomas Family into their new home within the next 3 weeks. Like all renovation projects, we have discovered a few new issues and would like to exceed our goal in order to minimize the loan amount. With just a little bit more to go, we can provide a comfortable living space for the Thomas family!

To Donate Online, Visit:

https://connect.clickandpledge.com/…/ph…/campaign/ChurchLane.

Thank you for participating in creating an affordable home for
a wonderful, hard-working family!

PIHN’s Flea Market Returns

 

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Back to School time can be very stressful for low income, hard-working families because of the need to make many purchases outside of their budget in order to ready their children for a new school year. PIHN Alumni decided to take matters ito their own hands by organizing a series of flea markets with all proceeds going toward purchasing uniform vouchers! We welcome the help of our community by donating household items, clothes, children’s toys and also by volunteering. Please contact keyonnee at (215) 450-0171 or keyonnee@philashelter.org, and feel free to drop by and shop too! Thank you so much for ALL that you do!

Future Dates To Be Announced.