Here Comes the Sun! We’re going green in 2022!

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Here Comes the Sun! Family Promise of Philadelphia is going green in 2022!

Thanks to a visionary and generous family, environmental investors and two community congregations, Family Promise of Philadelphia (formerly known as Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network) will soon generate enough solar power to offset nearly all its electricity consumption.

This project is the first known collaboration between faith groups, community members and a community nonprofit in which solar power generation will be used to directly benefit vulnerable members of their community.

“With a concept that is replicable and scalable, this will be a model for the rest of Pennsylvania in which institutions can aid non-profit organizations while utilizing renewable energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” said Bob Byrne, FPP’s Director of Operations.

The idea for the solar project came from Marilyn and Larry Moyer, members of First United Methodist Church of Germantown (FUMCOG). The Moyers purchased a portion of the solar panels for FPP and raised additional funds from FUMCOG congregants and environmental activist friends.

The remainder of the project expenses were covered by a grant from The Grandom Institution, a foundation that aids organizations that provide affordable, clean energy to low-income residents and increase the ability of low-income persons to become self-sufficient. Funds that would otherwise be used to pay FPP’s electrical bills will instead be directed to assisting families in our community who are experiencing housing insecurity.

Due to a recent provision in Pennsylvania’s renewal energy law called “virtual meter aggregation”, solar equipment may generate power to credit the equipment owners for all their electrical bills within two miles.

As such, a property with a large roof within two miles of FPP’s operations could be used. Since the roof at FUMCOG was not appropriate for the installation, FPP looked to other supporting congregations that had recently installed a new roof.

Second Baptist Church of Germantown has supported FPP for more than 25 years and shares a commitment to environmental conservation. Conveniently, the Church has also been using its parsonage to house FPP shelter families during the pandemic. The Church graciously offered to allow FPP to install 36 solar panels on its roof.

Second Baptist also decided to purchase and install another 26 panels on its roof that will offset its own electrical usage. Combined, the two arrays will generate 28,500 kWh annually. This solar electric production will offset the majority of FPP’s electric consumption and a large portion of Second Baptist Church’s electrical usage.

Solar States, a Philadelphia company with a deep commitment to working in its most impoverished neighborhoods, is designing the system and will complete the installation in April.

Just as FPP congregations collaborated 30 years ago to provide shelter to families experiencing homelessness, members of FUMCOG and Second Baptist are demonstrating how collaboration and community action can pave the way for a brighter future.

“I was immediately attracted to FPP functioning as a partner because it is an opportunity to introduce environmental activists to the cause of ending homelessness and to introduce our base of volunteers to the benefits of going solar,” said Rachel Falkove, FPP’s Executive Director. “The project does not rely on any of FPP’s operating funds and it provides a way for people who can’t afford to go solar in their own homes to participate in supporting alternative energy initiatives.”

Falkove continued, “The religious communities in our network apply their religious teachings to inform their social justice initiatives. These initiatives include environmental justice, addressing poverty and homelessness, and welcoming immigrants. This project brings together two of those causes and introduces a new way that people can invest in solar, even in a small way, to make a difference for us all.”

FPP is an affiliate of Family Promise and has provided emergency shelter, material goods, and supportive services to families experiencing homelessness for 30 years. Increasingly, its work has broadened to prevent families in our community from experiencing the trauma of homelessness. To find out more about FPP, including ways you can help, please visit www.philashelter.org.

 

PIHN’s HAPCO Partnership

Lasting Solutions through Lasting Partnerships

PIHN’s New Partnership with HAPCO

 

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Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network (PIHN) is implementing a 3-way partnership between HAPCO Philadelphia/Tenants/PIHN to prevent homelessness. PIHN believes that an informed landlord can recognize signs of struggling tenants and assist them to receive help. Resolving problems without eviction and getting tenants back on track is a more cost-effective solution and has better outcomes for both the landlord and the tenant.

HAPCO Philadelphia landlords will refer current tenants who have been unable to keep up with rent to PIHN. Tenants will complete a comprehensive financial assessment and put together a financial plan with assistance from PIHN. Once the tenant completes their work with PIHN, landlords will be paid directly for back rent.

HAPCO Philadelphia landlords will notify PIHN when they have a vacancy and PIHN will refer potential new tenants. PIHN will assist selected referrals with security deposits. PIHN will also provide ongoing case management and support over the course of a year. PIHN has offices in NW and NE Philadelphia but serves clients from all over the city.

Contact Anita Lyndaker-Studer, PIHN Northeast Coordinator, at (215) 247-4663 ext. 101
or by emailing anita@philashelter.org
for referrals or more information.

Make a Difference to Help Northeast Families in Crisis


Make a Difference Supporting PIHN Northeast Families!

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Since the COVID-19 outbreak, PIHN and many other Northeast Philadelphia social service organizations have received hundreds of requests for help from hard working households experiencing layoffs, working fewer hours, making less income, and requiring more food and material support. Neighbors worry as they watch their bills grow to a point where they can’t imagine catching up – even after returning to work.

The Northeast Philadelphia COVID-19 Resilience Fund provides a way for individuals and businessesto make a difference by addressing our neighbors’ emergency needs directly, flexibly, and creatively. Funds can be used for covering back rent,utilities, temporary daycare for returning workers, emergency home repairs, medication for someone who has lost insurance, etc.

All funding requests will be evaluated by and administered through Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network (PIHN).


Click Here to Donate or Learn More
About PIHN’s Northeast Philadelphia COVID Relief Fund

 

File Your Taxes Virtually with PIHN for Free!

File your taxes virtually with PIHN!

Claim your FREE Tax Refund

CWF PhotoPIHN is returning this year as a Campaign for Working Families, free Tax Filing Site. As a free service to our community, we are filing Federal and State Income Tax Returns for households with an income less than $55,000 beginning on February 1st!

Please note that all appointments MUST be scheduled through www.cwfphilly.org using the In-Person Drop-off function before visiting PIHN’s office with your documents. After your appointment is set, drop your documents off at our office, and a tax specialist will be reaching out to you soon after. You can find the list of paperwork you need to bring with you on the document attached to this email.

 

Click Here to Schedule Your Free Virtual Tax Appointment!

 

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Thanks for Joining “Walk of the Holy Family” on PIHN’s Behalf!

Walk of the Holy Family Review!

Chestnut Hill Congregations Walk for
PIHN’s Prevention Program

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This past week, 6 Chestnut Hill congregations came together for a fundraising walk along Germantown Avenue to commemorate “Las Posadas”, a Central/South American pre Christmas celebration that reenacts the journey of Mary and Joseph seeking shelter for Mary to birth her baby. The walkers make multiple stops asking for shelter and at very stop, they are turned away, drawing parallels to the experience of many families today, who seek an affordable place to live.

The candlelit walk successfully raised over $15,000 for our homelessness prevention fund, paying back rents and housing deposits for families at risk of homelessness.  We’re grateful to the sponsoring congregations including:

  • Christ Ascension Lutheran Church
  • Church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields
  • Cresheim Valley Church
  • Our Mother of Consolation Roman Catholic Church
  • The Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill
  • St. Paul’s Episcopal Church

and the many community members who participated and contributed to this meaningful pre-holiday celebration.

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Our hope is that this Walk will become an annual tradition among the Christian congregations of Northwest Philadelphia. Thanks for ALL you do, and for sharing a great first year with Las Posadas!

 

 

 

Thanks for a Spectacular Virtual Empty Bowl Event!


An Evening We’ll Never Forget!

PIHN and Arcadia University Have Successfully Hosted a Virtual Empty Bowl Dinner!

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Take a deep breath, and give a round of applause for the most AMAZING network we could ask for!  Sunday, November 22nd was nothing short of spectacular as Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network (PIHN) and Arcadia University joined to celebrate our annual traditions of the Empty Bowl Dinner virtually through Zoom. With social distancing keeping us apart, the warmth of our community has and will continue to keep us together. Thanks to the support of Arcadia University volunteers, staff, and our local community – we have raised $30,000 towards our homelessness prevention fund!

Special thanks to Mike McGrath of WLVT/PBS39′s “You Bet Your Garden” for his memorable wit and energy to brighten up the evening. Congratulations to Kylia Alston for receiving the beautiful car (a 2015 Toyota Carola) donated by Geico and refurbished by Service King as part of the National Auto Body Council’s Recycled Rides program!

Use this link to watch a short video about Kylia, as she shares how much having a car truly makes a difference!

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Our generous Corporate Sponsors have really made a difference this year, by funding both the execution of our event as well as the attendance of PIHN’s Program Alumni:

  • Giant Food Stores
  • Drumcliff Foundation
  • Elfant Wissahickon Realtors
  • FX Cassidy and Associates
  • Fox & Roach Charities
  • Geico
  • Lindy Communities
  • National Auto Body Council (Recycled Rides)
  • Service King
  • Sovereign

The 2020 Annual Empty Bowl Dinner Cookbook is being printed at this time and will be available both digitally and in print before December 25th. Thanks to all who contributed favorite soup, bread, and dessert recipes and memories from our community about past Empty Bowl experiences. If you’re interested, you can also purchase an e-book online for $3, or a print version for $15 just in time for the holidays!

This dinner happened thanks to the efforts of these wonderful people: Students from Arcadia University’s Center for Civic and Community Engagement, including Hannah McGinnis, Kiara Jacoby, Julisa Linton, Tyanna Taylor and their fearless leader, Cindy Rubino. Thanks as well to PIHN volunteers and staff, Valerie Erwin, Della lazarus, Ezra Masch, TJ Narty, Christian Gordon-Scott and Rachel Falkove.

 

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Thanks for ALL you do

 

PIHN’s 2020 Back to School Event

A Year of New Beginnings!

PIHN’s 2020 Back to School Night

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Returning to school in 2020 presents a new set of challenges for students of all ages. PIHN children, teens, and college kids are prepped for the many new adjustments caused by COVID-19, and getting off to an awesome start for the new school year after PIHN’s Back to School gathering held in our Northwest office the last week of August.

Students received travel-sized sanitation kits and assorted face masks, in addition to the uniform gift cards and book bags stuffed with school supplies for the school year ahead. Thank you so much to Chestnut Hill Presbyterian Church, and Flourtown Presbyterian Church for providing the huge assortment of unique book bags for our PIHN scholars.

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We’d also like to add a special shout-out to Cradles to Crayons Philadelphia for the generous school donations they’ve made to our program and thousands of other children around the city. With the support of our awesome community, PIHN has received over 250 book bags filled with supplies for our children this year!

“Smoothies for Shelter” at Planet Smoothie in Horsham!

Horsham’s Planet Smoothie Presents:

“Smoothies for Shelter!”

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Planet Smoothie Horsham’s Sherrell Oliver-Riley, introduced a new initiative that offers smoothies to prevent homelessness by assisting students facing housing insecurity in the Philadelphia School District. For $35 per person, smoothie lovers can enjoy their choice of one smoothie (any size!!) for each week through the end of September. Half of the proceeds from every participant will then be donated to PIHN’s Homelessness Prevention Program!

I’m excited to provide our customers with smoothies during the hottest time of the year, while assisting local families in need of rental assisance,” said Oliver-Riley. “Not only will our customers be saving a few bucks, but they’ll be helping us raise much needed funds to help prevent homelessness in the region.”

Planet Smoothie is located at 575 Horsham Rd. (Suite B-19) in the Horsham Corner Shopping Center. If you are interested in participating, simply request a Summer Pass when you order your next frozen treat, or via phone: (215) 394-5217.

The Planet Smoothie franchise began in 1995 in Atlanta, Georgia and has more than 130 locations across the country. Learn more about them by visiting www.planetsmoothie.com.

“What a Community!” – PIHN’s Update on Homelessness Prevention

An Update on PIHN’s COVID-19 &
Homelessness Prevention Programs

“What a Community!”


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(COVID-19 Distribution at PIHN’s NW Office)

2020 has been filled with many twists, turns, and challenges for all. The families we serve are among the most vulnerable as many are people of color, and working in front-line jobs. Several have come down with COVID, and many have lost employment, daycare, and income, while managing from one crisis to the next. We have tried the best we can to support each other through the onslaught of the plague that has struck every aspect of our lives. PIHN’s incredible congregational volunteers, and supporters have come through for the families we serve in big ways!

My heart is full of gratitude for our awesome staff who have managed to creatively, and safely make sure that our supply of food, diapers, and necessities reach all in need.  I cannot begin to thanks the many random acts of kindness done by PIHN congregations – every individual who has dropped off essentials, prepared family-sized meals, and generously given their volunteer time and resources has kept our families going strong.

We have also been privileged to work with incredible community partner organizations, political leaders, and government offices who have joined efforts in making sure that the needs of the most vulnerable are addressed.

Homelessness Prevention Update

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PIHN was honored to receive some key grants to help with our eviction prevention efforts. The largest grants to announce are a $227,000 grant through the Emergency Solutions Program (HUD funding), a $200,000 Emergency Food and Shelter Program Grant (FEMA funding) and a $100,000 City General Fund Grant. All three grants are to be used for helping families pay back rents, mortgage payments, and utilities as well as helping to find both temporary and permanent housing for those who are already displaced. Special thanks to the City of Philadelphia, Office of Homeless Services, for playing a key role in supporting our applications.

PIHN has already assisted over 120 households with funding and anticipate helping nearly 300 households by year end. We are thrilled to have these new resources for prevention in addition to several other large grants through the Home 4 Good Program and PHARE (grants funded by Commonwealth of PA Housing Trust Funds) to be able to help so many people. We also thank the many smaller family foundations that invested in our early prevention work and continue to do so.

We would not be able to do this work if it had not been for the many PIHN advocated who worked to educate our government officials on the importance of homelessness prevention when we started these efforts several years ago.

PIHN Receives $10,000 from Women’s Philanthropic Group for COVID-19!

 TTN Women’s Philanthropic Group
Assist PIHN Families During COVID Times

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PIHN is thrilled to announce a $10,000 special donation from the Philadelphia Chapter of The Transition Network (TTN) Giving Circle – a group of women dedicated to bringing the power of collective giving to improving the lives of Philadelphia women, children and youth.

“Our organization is honored to have been selected by the TTN Giving Circle for this generous and timely donation to help families impacted by the COVID-19 crisis,” commented Bob Rossman, PIHN’s Board President. “So many of the households we serve struggle to make ends meet in good times. They have little savings to carry them through COVID and need immediate help to meet their families’ most basic needs. PIHN is seeing five times more families in need of food and diapers and supplies than prior to COVID-19! The TTN Giving Circle donation allows PIHN to respond with immediate help.”

Since its inception in 2013, the TTN Giving Circle has awarded one grant each year to an organization supporting its mission. But with the COVID-19 crisis hitting during their 2020 grant cycle, members immediately wanted to do more. They reached out to the broader TTN membership for ideas – did they know organizations providing extra support for the unique needs generated from the COVID-19 crisis in Philadelphia? In less than one week, the committee received recommendations, which were put through a rigorous vetting process, and membership voted to select PIHN for the special $10,000 donation. Start to finish, the TTN Giving Circle acted in one month.

“We were overwhelmed at the response from our members,” said Carol Cunningham, TTN Giving Circle Chair. “It’s heartwarming to see the efforts being made on the part of so many organizations to respond to this crisis. The work of PIHN really stood out to us, and we are so privileged to be able to support their work. This is truly the power of collective giving in action.”

The donation funds, distributed to PIHN through logistics support from The Philadelphia Foundation, will go directly toward purchasing increased supplies based on individualized need; offering financial assistance for laundromat and supermarket gift cards, medications and personal supplies, rent and utility assistance; and developing virtual services to offer parenting workshops, parents of teen support, therapy/support groups and employment coaching.

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About The Transition Network Giving Circle (TTN Giving Circle)

The TTN Giving Circle is a dedicated group of women who pool their giving dollars to make a difference in the lives of Philadelphia women, children and youth. Since its founding in 2013, they have provided more than $105,000 in grants to in-need organizations in Philadelphia, and expect to award an additional $30,000 in grants and donations in 2020. Giving Circle members believe their method of collective philanthropy increases the impact of each dollar given. The Giving Circle is a philanthropic group within the Philadelphia Chapter of The Transition Network, an inclusive community of professional women, 50 and forward, whose changing life situations lead them to seek new connections, resources and opportunities.


For more information about TTN and the TTN Giving Circle:

Visit TTN Giving Circle or contact Carol Cunningham, Chair at TTNPhiladelphiaGivingCircle@gmail.com