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 AssociationÔÇÖs 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:
“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 offerÔÇöI 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:┬á You are all beautiful people. Thank you so very much for accompanying me on my 10- year journey to stability.┬á It sometimes takes a village and this village has clearly been there for me!!!
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.┬á Best of luck to you with your new position Erica!
Celebrating Two Decades of Empty Bowl!
Thank You for ALL the Support You’ve Given
(PIHN’s 2018 Empty Bowl Dinner)
Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network’s 20th Annual Empty Bowl Dinner ushered in this Season of Thanks for PIHNÔÇÖs community of families, volunteers and supporters.. One attendee described the experience as ÔÇ£like being in a roomful of love.ÔÇØ 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.┬á┬á 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 AssociationÔÇÖs 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.
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 PIHNÔÇÖs work to prevent and alleviate family homelessness.
and we so look forward to seeing you next year!
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!
Saying Goodbye to Our Boys
Thank You David and Jakob!
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,┬áAuf Wiedersehen!
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!┬áOur 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!┬áWe are making tremendous progress┬áwith our house renovations and expect to move the Thomas Family into their new home within the next 3 weeks.┬áLike 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:
Thank you for participating in creating an affordable home for
a wonderful, hard-working family!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, and feel free to drop by and shop too! Thank you so much for ALL that you do!
Future Dates To Be Announced.
College Guidance Added to Our Resources!
We are always trying to update our resources tab for members of PIHN community to use depending on any given situation. In addition to tips about Wellness, Single-Parenting, and Youth Programs we have added a new set of sources that a specifically catered to picking the right type of higher educati0n and how to pay for it! Check out these resources as well as others that we continually make updates to by clicking the link below. If you have any resources, or programs to share with us, we will be more than happy to relay that info to the families that we serve!
A Special Thanks to the Community
Our Empty Plate Dinner Wrap-Up
This past weekend PIHN celebrated it’s 5th annual Empty Plate Dinner, where we received a huge turnout from our community in the Northeast! With over 70 restaurants serving food from all over the Philadelphia area, we were able to really showcase what can be accomplished when a village comes together. Special shoutouts to the Professional Women in Aviation, Arcadia University students our large support net of volunteers, and finally our dinner sponsor Brynn Mawr Trust who helped our dinner run smoothly. THANK YOU for your continuing support and we’ll see you all next year!┬áÔÖÑ
One of PIHN’s very own, Aubree House, recently wrote a poem that was selected for presentation at the All City Oratorical Contest in celebration of Black History Month. In addition to grabbing a star role in her school play “Hairspray!”, Aubree is really putting her best foot forward and making us very proud! Read Aubree’s poem “Take a Knee” below.
Can we Take a Knee?
Can we take a knee and stand up for our rights?
Can we take a knee and stop all the fights?
Can we take a knee and realize black lives do matter?
Can we take a knee and save lives from being shattered?
Can we take a knee and realize for a second
Every single day some lives are being threatened?
Can we take a knee and stand up against police brutality?
I can’t believe our world has come to this very harsh reality.
Can we take a knee and stop all the hate?
Can we take a knee and begin to retaliate?
Can we take a knee and stand up for what we believe?
Can we take a knee and see what we all can achieve?
Can we take a knee and speak up when something’s wrong?
Not by yourself, but together … we are strong!
Can we take a knee and treat others with respect?
If you don’t … then think of all the people you might affect.
I’m saying this to you today, to tell you something true.
All the violence in the world … isn’t something new.
Can we take a knee and make this world adjust?
Can we take a knee, not just by myself, but with all of us?
Can we take a knee?
An┬áHonor of Recognition
Receiving FUMCOG’s┬áSocial Justice Award
Last week, Executive Director Rachel Falkove┬áreceived the annual Social and Racial Justice award given by The First United Methodist Church in Germantown (FUMCOG) this past MLK day weekend.┬áAlso recognized for maintaining one of the most respected agencies in the city, this award is granted as an honor to those┬áwho cross racial or ethnic lines making significant contributions toward the resolution of issues┬áregarding┬ásocial and racial injustice.┬á
Holiday Shopping with a Purpose
Wrapping up PIHN On the Hill Day
Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality NetworkÔÇÖs community and supporters kept Chestnut HillÔÇÖs charming village shops filled with shoppers in support of PIHN On the Hill Day held December 10th this year! Proceeds went to the PIHN ChildrenÔÇÖs Fund, supplying school supplies, uniforms, winter wear, scholarships, learning programs, extracurricular activities and camperships for the children we support. Special thanks to our participating Chestnut Hill businesses – Artisans on the Avenue, Bohemian Pink, Chestnut Hill Cheese Shop, Chill on the Hill, Evergreen Cheese Shop, J. Mclaughlin, Iron Hill Brewery, Mango, Quelque Chose, Tavern on the Hill, Ten Thousand Villages, Threadwell, and Windfall Gallery for playing a huge role in spreading the spirit of holiday generosity in support of PIHN children!┬á
To a SOUPer Evening..
Our Empty Bowl Dinner’s Success!
- Thank You -
The 2017 Empty Bowl Dinner was the BEST! We say that about each Empty Bowl Dinner, but this time we are not exaggerating!┬á It was well attended; our bowls were beautiful; the soups were delicious┬á and the desserts were fabulous!┬á Mike McGrath wasÔÇª.Milke McGrath, and the Philly Phanatic made us all smile! Congrats to Katie Pearson who won the 2015 Recycled Rides Hyundai Sonata!┬á
Many thanks to our host, United Lutheran Seminary, to our dinner host, Mike McGrath, to our corporate sponsors, advertisers, bowl makers, restaurant donors,┬á bread and cake makers, home bakers, soup shleppers and more than 100 volunteers. Special thanks to our hard working Empty Bowl Dinner Committee ( Cheryl Barber, Cynthia LaLone, Emmanuel Philor, Helene Broitman, Jamilla Mitchell, Lauren Casper, LaVerne Jones, Mel Strieb, & Shirlyn Swann). And an additional thanks to Arcadia University for hosting it’s own Empty Bowl Dinner on our behalf two days earlier! We raised community awareness of family homelessness and over $35,000 in support for PIHNÔÇÖs programs!┬á A very FUN and SUCCESSFUL┬á night!
Volunteer for Our Empty Bowl Dinner!
Click the links provided below to sign-up for a role to play during the dinner.┬áYour willingness to volunteer will ensure the success of this remarkable community event┬áto combat┬áhomelessness!┬á
Greeters and Servers:
Can You Be a Souper Schlepper?
We are also in need of volunteers to run around and gather soups from local food donators prepared for the big night! If you are interested, please contact Rachel Falkove at email@example.com or 215-247-4663 ext. 136
Our board, congregations and alumni gathered for┬áPIHNÔÇÖs Annual Meeting on Wednesday June 28th┬á┬áat Chestnut Hill Friends. ┬áFeatured speaker,┬áDaniel Farrell, Senior Vice President of HELP USA for Homelessness Prevention and Rehousing,┬áencouraged PIHN to move forward with efforts to focus on┬ápreventing homelessness before it begins.┬á┬áThe preliminary annual report was distributed and the members elected four new board members:
Cheryl H. Barber, BS, MS
With extensive experience in the nonprofit sector, Cheryl holds a Fundraising Program Certificate from the University of Pennsylvania and is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.┬á Her areas of expertise include, but are not limited to, fundraising, development, strategic planning, communications, community outreach, and program development.┬á Cheryl currently serves on the board of the American Baptist Homes & Caring Ministries.┬á Throughout her career, she has held positions with several nonprofit organizations, including Germantown Friends School, Philadelphia Art Alliance, and Dunleavy & Associates. Cheryl was most recently Director of Development with Baptist ChildrenÔÇÖs Services.
Michael H. Novak, BS, 30 graduate credits in Industrial Psychology at Temple University
Having an extensive and varying career, Michael┬áworked with General Electric and Franklin Mint as a human resources professional.┬á Mike was VP of Administration at Wells Fargo Alarm Services, has worked as an entrepreneur, and was Executive VP at Alternative Ways, Inc.┬á He is retired from Fluidics, Inc., where he held the position of Director of Sales and Marketing.┬á Mike has been affiliated with Saint Vincent de Paul Conference of IHM parish (Vice President) and is a Member of Friends of St. John the Baptist Parish in Manayunk.┬á He has been married to his wife, Rose, for 51 years, and has four children and six grandchildren in the Philadelphia area.
J. Jamillah (Jamie) Mitchell
Philadelphia native, Masjidullah member, A graduate of Cardinal Dougherty High School┬áand Howard University Alum.,┬áJamillah┬áhas over 20 years of experience in nonprofit management, small business development,┬ácorporate training/development and quality assurance experience.┬á In 2003, while living in Atlanta, GA, Jamillah begin consulting with local businesses in need of part time Administrative and Executive Level Assistance, Human Resource┬áServices, Grant Writing and Marketing/Public Relations. This part time, home-based, consulting business serves as the foundation for┬áher role as Interim Administrator at Masjidullah.┬á Jamillah is also the proud mother of two children ages 12 and 18. Her son┬áZion, is a┬á6th grader at Mathematics, Civics and Sciences Charter School (and an active Masjidullah Jawala Scout)┬áand Zoee Monet, a Freshman at Community College of Philadelphia (and Masjidullah Madressa assistant).
Frank RobinsonÔÇï, BS, MBA, M.Div
Managing Partner of Kairos Development Group, has been a leader in the sustainable development industry for over eighteen years, working with government, private and nonprofit clients.┬á Frank has extensive experience articulating primary objectives for strategic plans, pursuing federal grant opportunities, revitalizing brands through online channels, and spearheading new programs. Frank has also written and managed over $40 million in federal grants/programs. He is a graduate of North Carolina A&T State University with a degree in Political Science. He also has an MBA with a focus on Economic Development from Eastern University and a Masters of Divinity at Westminster Theological Seminary. He also holds several certifications including one in low-income Housing Tax Credit Management & Development. Frank is a licensed minister and currently serves as an Elder at Cresheim Valley Church.┬á He is married to Carolyn Crouch Robinson and has one daughter named Samantha whom is currently in high school.
Thank You Cathy Smith, Beloved Social Worker!
Cathy Smith, long time PIHN Social Worker was celebrated for her years of dedicated service to PIHN upon her retirement. Three alumni families spoke movingly about their experience with PIHNÔÇÖs programs and about working with Cathy.┬á These included Tonia Harris, Andrea Jourdan and Fatima Wells. ┬áWe presented Cathy with a beautiful plaque, with her name in calligraphy; decorated by Jeanne Marie Todd.
A Homelessness Prevention Strategy that Philly┬á
Hundreds of Philadelphia families, even from the priciest neighborhoods of our City, find themselves during the course of any month. Far too often they cannot get the emergency help they need. Philadelphia’s safety net, the shelter system, is stretched well beyond capacity and lacks the resources necessary to respond to current economic and housing realities of City residents, in particular for the Northeast zip codes that Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network (PIHN) and our 20 Northeast area congregations serve. Northeast Philadelphia has the second highest eviction rate in the city. More than 5,700 School District students were homeless last year. Some were in shelter, but others were couch surfing. Each year approximately 14,000 Philadelphians utilize a homeless shelter.
Homelessness occurs for a myriad of reasons and comes with many costs. Shelter beds are very expensive – approximately $15,000 per individual and $45,000 for a three person household per year! The choice not to build additional shelter beds to meet the true need comes with hidden social costs that show up in unnecessary placements in the child welfare system, increased health crises, lost employment, delays in educational progress for children, prolonged domestic violence, increased trauma and resulting behavioral health problems. Vacant housing brings down our neighborhoods.
Rather than let families and children fall behind, how can Philadelphia provide necessary resources and services sooner to prevent the downward spiral of homelessness? A promising solution lies in a cost-effective “homelessness prevention” strategy, managed by public-private partnerships that includes community, faith-based, local government, and corporate collaboration and support.
On March 13th and March 20th Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network, Family Service Provider Network, the Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations, Health Providers, Legal Aid groups and others testified in public hearings on the Homelessness Prevention and Philadelphia’s Eviction Crisis to ask our City Council to support investment in community-based prevention strategies that would help 1,000 households to avoid the emergency shelter system. Utilizing the Housing Trust Fund for homelessness prevention monies would be money well-spent. 3 million dollars would provide landlord mediation, legal assistance, financial coaching, benefits advocacy, employment and training, “master leasing”, and short-term financial assistance. These interventions have been tried in other cities and have proven 98% successful in preventing homelessness and displacement. While there will still be some families who need higher levels of service, most low income working families can avoid homelessness with targeted interventions.
Prevention intervention costs range from $500 per household to $6,000 per household in one year of service, compared to the high costs of providing shelter or the societal costs of doing nothing, PIHN believes that our City leadership should work to develop a community based homelessness prevention plan utilizing funds from the City Housing Trust Fund. By investing in a proven intervention, homeless Philadelphians won’t have to rely solely on the shelter system. A great city like Philadelphia can, and should, do better for its vulnerable citizens.
Check out some of these awesome shots taken at the 4th Annual EPD.
We had a WONDERFUL time with our neighbors this year!
Photo Creds to our German Volunteer: “Felizitas Bitzenhofer”
Consistent supporters of PIHN, The Greentree Community Health Foundation created an article spotlighting organizations who are helping fight Homelessness. Below is an article from them featuring our very own Alumni, Nancy!
Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network (PIHN) families, staff and volunteers as well as many representatives from the Family Service ProviderÔÇÖs Network (FSPN) testified on March 13th about the need for a Homelessness Prevention Plan this past┬áMonday┬áat a City Council public hearing.┬áThe hearing, sponsored by the CouncilÔÇÖs Committee on Housing, Neighborhood Development and Homelessness advocated for funding for a robust homelessness prevention program to relieve PhillyÔÇÖs log-jammed shelter system with long waiting lists.
Andrea Jourden┬áand┬áNancy House, PIHN alumni, ┬áspoke about their struggles to find housing they could afford and how they are doing so much better since PIHNÔÇÖs shallow rent subsidy and master lease program.┬á As working, low income families, their stay in shelter could have been shortened or avoided all-together had resources been available earlier.┬áAubrey, NancyÔÇÖs 11 year old daughter spoke eloquently about the impact of housing insecurity on her family and her difficulty concentrating in school when the family was struggling prior to entering┬áPIHNÔÇÖs Master Lease Housing program that offers shallow rent subsidies.┬áPIHNÔÇÖs Director┬áRachel Falkove, and other FSPN providers, suggested that City Council:
1)┬áDirect $3,000,000 from the Housing Trust Fund for Homelessness Prevention efforts.
2)┬áAllocate $3,000,000 from the General Fund to strengthen the contract agencies that have been flat-funded for the past 8 years.
3)┬áAllocate $25,000 for trauma informed care training programs.
We are hopeful that these requested changes combined with strengthening the role of public/private/faith-based partnerships will result in helping 750 families avoid the experience of homelessness.
PIHN families of┬áAndrea Jourden┬á,┬áNancy┬áand┬áAubrey House┬á(shown in photo above) &┬áRachel Falkove (below) at Press Conference before the Hearing.
Take a peak into the Hearing by following these YouTube links:
HereÔÇÖs a shout out to PIHNÔÇÖs project partners, Sisters of Salaam Shalom for an article this past Thursday in the Philadelphia Inquirer and to Tom Costello of The Joy of Sox in last weekÔÇÖs People Magazine human interest feature!┬á┬á Both articles mention PIHN and the ways PIHN families are strengthened by their work.┬á┬á It totally takes a village, and our project partners really do go the extra mile.┬á WeÔÇÖre honored to be working with them!