Interfaith Shelter Network of San Diego
November 9, 2010
My wife and I have volunteered for 25 years with the North Coastal San Diego County Interfaith Shelter Network of the Ecumenical Council of San Diego. At first we were support for another congregation that hosted the network. For the past 10 years our congregation has been a host congregation. There are seven networks. The ISN staff provides coordination, training, and follow up with 7 social service agencies and over 75 congregations of various faiths and denominations. At this moment, my wife is chairing our congregation in hosting 12 persons (3 single women with 8 children and one single man). She has over 80 members of our congregation involved as overnight hosts, in preparing meals, doing laundry, driving our guests to medical/dental appointments, or just being available to assist as needed. Over 10,000 persons have been helped over the history of IFN with approximately 60% finding jobs and/or housing.
I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...
Over the years I have received letters and/or visits from guests who have thanked me on behalf of our congregation and reported their status.
Ways to make it better...
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
Focus on recruiting more congregations so the program can operate year around rather than just 20-26 weeks each year. Figure out how to get the volunteers involved as advocates with the politicians on behalf of the homeless.
Volunteer & Driver, cook, overnight host, chair, clergy liaison, recruiter of volunteers, recruiter of other congregation's involvement.