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

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

“What a Community!”

(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


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

TTN official

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.

 TTN Logo

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

Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network and the Coronavirus


Dear Friends of PIHN,

Many of our volunteers and supporters have reached out during this time of Coronavirus to ask how Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network is managing. Here is our update on services that will be continued, and others that will be discontinued:

Since so many of the families we serve are employed in service industries, we expect that they will be working fewer hours, making less income, and are likely to have even more material needs. As such, PIHN staff will be working to keep material supports available such as food, diapers, clothing, and personal items for families in need. Staff have divided into three teams who will work on alternate days, keeping our services going as long as possible. If one team needs to be isolated, another team can step in.

The PIHN Northwest Family Center will be open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10AM – 4PM, and Saturdays from 10AM – 2PM for food and diapers.

  • We ask that families on come to the PIHN office on these days, and enter through the rear to pick up their items.
  • Visitors will not be welcome to come in and utilize computers or the family center to keep it sanitized for staff to be there safely, and assist people with getting basic needs.
  • All calls and requests for rental assistance will be handled by phone, with staff working remotely and checking messages on a regular basis.
  • All in-person tax appointments will be postponed for the next two weeks.
  • PIHN staff will be unavailable to pick up or deliver any furniture donations until further notice.

Our Northeast office is temporarily closed. If you wish to donate any food, supermarket gift cards, or personal items, please bring them to our center at 7047 Germantown Ave. during open hours on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. We will keep you posted on our wish list.

We have also made special plans for the families in our shelter program to stay safe. They will be treated as family, and can remain in their church without volunteers. A handful of dedicated interns and staff will be assigned to check in on them and not to interact with other aspects of our operation. Many thanks to Unitarian Universalist Church of the Restoration in Mt. Airy for accommodating our families at the present time, and to Second Baptist Church in Germantown should the crisis continue. If your congregations is hosting or co-hosting, your coodinator will advice you of our arrangements for volunteers. Our Northwest and Northeast families are now together.

We have implemented increased, regular sanitizing procedures to keep everyone safe. Remember to wash hands frequently and avoid public gatherings as much as possible. Stay home if you are sick and be sure your children know how important hand washing is.

With every wish for calm, safety, and good health,

Rachel SIgnature

Rachel Heart


Rachel Falkove

Executive Director

A Shared Community Initiative – PIHN’s New Partnership with HTN!

HTN Banner 2

We are super excited to announce St. Alphonsus Parish Ministry’s HTN Program, and Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network’s partnership with a shared initiative to provide assistance to the most impoverished neighbors in our community. Combined, PIHN and HTN have served 700(+) vulnerable families (over 1,500 children and adults) in the Philadelphia and Montgomery County!

Our new partnership with HTN has granted us access to surplus, large ticket items to distribute to families who rely on our programs. This includes recently purchased, unwanted mattresses, dresser sets, bed frames, couches, and so much more, supplied by over 800 generous donor companies! Many of these returned household essentials come from distributors who are unable to resell at market rate after they have been opened or used on a trial basis.

These donation will play a phenomenal role in supporting PIHN’s operations to ensure we continue making a difference for families in crisis before relying on the shelter system. Thanks to HTN, we can give overstocked and returned products a second life, and help budget stretched households live comfortably and focus on paying their rent and utilities!

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PIHN is a FREE Tax Filing Site!!

PIHN is a Campaign for Working Families, and free Tax Filing Site. As a service to our community, we are filing Federal and State Income Tax Returns for households with an income less than $69,000 beginning next week. Please share this message, with the info below containing a checklist of paperwork that will be needed prior to meeting.

 To set your appointments, please contact Christian Gordon-Scott at (215) 247-4663 (ext. 102)
or email taxes@philashelter.org.

Taxform 1

Taxform 2

Breaking Barriers and Strengthening Community! – 2020 MLK Day of Service

Collage 2(2020 MLK Day of Service volunteers!)

Monday, January 20th marked Greater Philadelphia’s 25th anniversary hosting a day of service that celebrates the life and legacy of Civil Rights Activist, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr! Beginning in 1996, this day has served as a nationwide movement to break down barriers, form lasting partnerships between local community programs, and cultivate a deep understanding of Dr. King’s Mission by bringing together hundreds of local volunteers.

Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network reaped many benefits with assistance from the 75(+) awesome volunteers who spent the day participating in our annual Houses for Change project, crafting bowls for this year’s Empty Bowl Dinner, and helping us clean and organize our family day center for the children who come and go everyday! Many thanks to Unitarian Society of Germantown for hosting and featuring us in their Day of Service event, and all of our friends who joined us to volunteer from:

  • Bryn Mawr Trust
  • Chestnut Hill College
  • Friends Select School
  • Merion Mercy Academy Alumni Association, and
  • Unitarian Society of Germantown


In the midst of the many projects PIHN was hosting , we were grateful to receive two very special donations from our amazingly supportive community. Special thanks to Merion Mercy Academy for their huge donation of “Birthday Care Packages” to help our families celebrate that special time of year. Finally, special thanks to Delaware Valley Friends School, for their donation of assorted comforters and bed sets that will go very quickly during this chilly season.

Our community far and wide is really the pride of PIHN! ❤️


Thank You for a Remarkable 2019!

Year-End PIHN Photo

(PIHN achievements in 2019)

Thanks to our generous supporters, PIHN has had quite a busy year in 2019. During this time, we have sheltered and moved 18 families to stability, and mentored a growing cohort of 180 alumni families who utilize our supportive services on a regular basis. We have also opened our doors and provided material supports to 276 community families, and assisted 100 families in avoiding homelessness by preventing eviction, providing back-rents, and helping with housing deposits!

PIHN ends this year poised to make a bigger difference in preventing homelessness during 2020. With grants from the Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement Fund (PHARE), the Home 4 Good Program (project of the PA Housing Finance Angency, the Help Us Move In Foundation (HUMI), The Philadelphia Foundation, Philadelphia Office of Homeless Services, and GIANT Food Stores, we intend to double our prevention efforts in the year ahead.

There is still time to help Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network during 2019! Every individual contribution, large or small, makes a difference. Please refer to our year-end Appeal letter for details on PIHN’s achievements reached this year.

Help us change lives in 2020 with any generous
year-end gift you can make!


2019 Annual Appeal-2

2019 Annual Appeal-1

Thank you PIHN Secret Santas!

Penn Charter 2019-min(Penn-Charter and their gift donations)

Santa and his helpers have been hard at work this season making drop-offs around the city for PIHN’s Secret Santa Program. The generosity shown through organizations and congregations including:

  • Delaware Children’s Charity
  • Penn-Charter
  • Mt. Airy Playground
  • KWG
  • New Leaders Council, Philadelphia
  • Friends Quaker Meeting House
  • Grace Presbyterian Church

have allowed us to provide Christmas matches to 275 children plus their parents in Philadelphia! Thanks especially to the number of individuals who also participated in providing gifts. It truly takes a village, and ours is awesome!

Celebrating PIHN’s 21st Annual Empty Bowl Dinner

To PIHN’s Amazing Community…

Thanks for Our Most Successful Empty Bowl Dinner


Last Wednesday, Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network (PIHN)’s 21st Annual Empty Bowl Dinner was nothing short of spectacular! Hundreds of bowls donated from over 30 different potters, clay programs and schools, as well as soups, cakes, and breads donated from 57 local restaurants, bakeries, and home bakers, made the dinner a visual and gastronomical feast! Special thanks to United Lutheran Seminary for hosting and to Mike McGrath of WLVT/PBS39′s “You Bet Your Garden” for dishing out some great energy and humor for the evening.

Congratulations to Tanisha Carter for receiving the beautiful 2015 Chrysler 200 generously donated by Geico and refurbished by Service King through the Recycled Rides program from the National Auto Body Council. Our fabulous Corporate Sponsors and Advertisers helped make the event a huge success and enabled PIHN’s alumni families to join in the fun!

Tanisha Geico
The 2019 Empty Bowl
Dinner was made possible thanks to:

The Empty Bowl Dinner Committee,
(Headed by Cynthia Lalone, with Cristin Lalone, Valerie Erwin, Beryl Evans, Bill Fox, Lynn Grahame, LaVerne M. Jones, Della Lazarus, Mark McGuigan, Donna Price, and Shirlyn Swann)

Our dedicated Staff, (Bob Byrne, Christian Gordon-Scott, Ben Domsgen, Deborah Kish-Silver, Linnea Luzzo, Keyonnee Thalia, Pesha Leichter, and Rachel Fakove)

…And our 100(+) Volunteers and Interns who everything from soup schlepping, serving, greeting, and SO much more! Huge shout-out to GIANT Food Stores and Elfant Wissahickon Realtors who brought a team of volunteers with them to help support the event.

Arcadia EBD 2019

Additionally, HUGE thank you to Arcadia University for hosting it’s very own Empty Bowl Dinner on PIHN’s behalf held November 11th. Your continuous support of PIHN’s programs have come such a long way!

Our deepest thanks
is to PIHN’s awesome community!

In the end, our dinner raised awareness and $40,000
in support of PIHN’s programs to prevent and alleviate family homelessness! It really takes a village, and ours is one of a kind.

With gratitude to each and every one of you,
Happy Thanksgiving!

A Sesame Street Tale Addressing Childhood Homelessness

sesame blog

Sesame Street in Communities (SSIC), a program of Sesame Workshop — the nonprofit that produces Sesame Street, joined Family promise, our national organization, at our 2019 National Conference. Before launching a suite of online resources for providers serving children without stable housing, SSIC consulted Family Promise the leading nonprofit addressing family homelessness as one of their expert advisers. Together they created a mupper child experiencing homelessness and made her feel much more hopeful about her family’s situation.

“We Got This!” is a children’s book, and valuable resource that our Network has to share with our children and parents experiencing homelessness. We will also share the books with other partner agencies. Many thanks to Sesame Street and it’s nearly 5-year commitment to addressing children’s developmental, physical, and emotional needs!

Click Here to Read More Details!