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2011 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Northwest Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network Inc

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Community Stories

69 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Client Served

Rating: 5

NPIHN has been marvelous at providing opportunities for families to be housed and for congregations to reach out. There is so much positive energy in the world that has only to be pointed in the right direction, provided with guidance, and given an opportunity. NPIHN does that for us so that we can be a blessing to families without housing. Their staff is knowledgeable, professional, and courteous. Every time there is a problem with the hosting, NPIHN has been quick to respond and to address matters. Their counseling to the families is invaluable. Their patience with congregations is outstanding. I love NPIHN, Rachel Falcove, and the opportunity they provide our congregation to reach out and be part of the answer instead of just another observer.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been hosting for the Hospitality Network since Germantown Jewish Centre, my synagogue, began participating many years ago. What a wonderful opportunity this is -- both those living in the Network and for the volunteers. So many of the clients are clearly working so hard to get their lives on an even keel, and it is wonderful to be able to assist them in a way that respects their dignity. I particularly love working with the kids.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

NPIHN is an amazing organization. fo us as a family we are able not only to share food we cook with those in need but to do so in a manner that provides dignity and understanding for all. We sit down to the same meal we prepared and take a moment in time to be on equal footing with individuals whoose lives have taken a turn that ours could take, the thread is thin. They are, as an organization, well prepared, ready to adapt and serve and creative in the ways you have to be to meet the needs of the individual. They can take a small amount of money, mix it with a huge amount of volunteerism and serve up a meaningful life long result.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

NPIHN has a great way of bringing community together, and providing a safe environment for children and families. The families that they have helped are extremely thankful for a place to live and a warm meal at the end of the day. Without this organization in our community, homeless families would be living on the street with no prospects for their future.

Review from Guidestar

1

Donor

Rating: 5

As a supplier of items to the organization, I have seen the outstanding work and joyful faces of all the people asociated with NPIHN and I have received back the warm feelings of watching a family grow thru this caring program. To watch a family get an area to start their lives together with love is enough reward for me. Thanks for being there.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have served as a volunteer tutor and have found the relationship between the staff and the clients to be amazingly warm and famiy-like. In spite of the difficult circumstances they are in, the clients are surrounded by people who really know them as individuals and who really care about them.

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The volunteers at NPIHN are caring and knowledgable. Each person involved, whatever role, is treated well. Each family is evaluated for what they would need to move to their next home and supplies are provided. Education and training is also a component.

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I am consistently impressed with the work of this organization. The staff is completely dedicated to their work and devotes themselves to the clients they serve.

I have attended events when clients speak of how they have been helped by this organization and I am completely impressed. Lives are changed by this organization in wonderful ways.

Rochelle

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering for NPIHN for about 10 years. I think the most obvious sign of its success is that some of the volunteers are former guests in the program. The organization helps the families build the skills they need to succeed and once they move into their new housing, NPIHN continues to interact and make sure that they continue to succeed.

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The Northwest Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network provides an extraordinarily meaningful, hands-on way for individuals and religious communities to help the homeless. Our congregation has been hosting families for years and we see it as one of the most direct ways that we effect social justice. Our congregants act as hosts and welcome the families to their accommodations in our building, a task some have performed for years. Our involvement connects us to other religious communities in our Northwest Philadelphia neighborhood in a beautiful exercise of interfaith cooperation. NPIHN has enriched the spiritual life of our congregation as much as it has helped the families being hosted.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I have volunteered as an evening host with NPIHN for the past several years and feel proud to be a part of a faith community housing guests. This is a wonderful way to give back to the community and I feel that I am DIRECTLY helping people who are in a difficult situation. I've really enjoyed meeting with the guest families, helping kids with their homework and just listening to those who wish to tell their story. I truly hope the guests feel the dignity with which we try to treat them during such a challenging time in their lives.

Review from Guidestar

Mindy W.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved with NPIHN and Rachel Falcove for 5 years. These past five years have enriched me personally by knowing the good they do for the community, the generosity even in their own times of financial and physical struggle, and the warmth and welcome given at any time that surrounds this organization.
I have organized an Empty Bowl dinner at the College with whom I am affiliated and the out pouring of love that surfaces from those who have been helped by NPIHN is readily shown to those who are in any way involved with the direction of NPIHN. Rachel Falcove has a wonderful way of connecting, coordinating and combining efforts of the entire community to help those in need. This woman is a generous and self-giving person who has given so much to everyone she meets.
What i can provide for you is this as an example:
whenever a student, mostly adult students trying to get back on their feet, have come to me or have been referred to me with housing issues, counseling needs or any other kind of need for outreach, Rachel and her staff have been there with open arms. If they themselves cannot help these students they are quick with references and agencies that can help and yet they do not drop the ball their; they make sure you make contact and always call to find out how the person is doing. I know of four students in this one year alone who we have referred to NPIHN and have been helped.
The undergraduate students of this college community cannot wait to help NPIHN with whatever it needs because this is not just a charity we give to, it's an organization we believe in and with whom wehave built a relationship. Not only has our entire college community helped with the Empty Bowl dinner, including staff, faculty and students, our Kitchn Staff from Chartwell's gives of their time and service for the dinner. It's one of the most popular event on campus.
We, at this college, believe in building relationships. NPIHN has been one place that our relationship has been built because of the caring, love, compassion and generosity given toward solidatiry of a community.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Interfaith Hospitality Network is a great program, doing work much needed in the community. It doesn't just provide assistance but creates long lasting relationships with the families in the program. I excited to see their program expand.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network is a model organization for community involvement, and truly caring about one's fellow human beings.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We have been involved for over 15 years. This is organization is especially good at finding things for you to do if you can do a little or a lot.
Our congregation started out thinking we could take a small part and found out we could do much more. Volunteering together energized us.

Volunteering with NPIHN had a positive effect on my children, now college students who expect to help out and give back. Additionally, they met great people - both the staff and t hose who receive housing.

Review from Guidestar

Rory C.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is truly an organization that does it all. Not only does it provide stellar services to clients but it brings together members of religious and faith communities across the board to participate. In the host congregations and churches, members of all ages can participate in the program, cooking meals, spending time with the kids, hanging out and talking, doing activities together with the families...it's like an internet of people across class, race, ethnicity, religion, background, and ability teaching and helping each other.

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network is a model organizations both in terms of service and advocacy.

I teach a class on housing policy and I make sure that the director always has a spot on my syllabus so she can give her insights into poverty, homelessness and contemporary housing policy.

They are worthy of many many awards.

Sincerely,

Anne Shlay
Professor of Sociology
Temple University

Review from Guidestar

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

This shelter is truly like a home. The staff go above and beyond. I was homeless and didn't manage money well. NPIHN gave me a sense of security and stability. The budgeting class they provided helped me tremendously. I still use the worksheets to this day. Eight years later, I am now a homeowner.

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

NPIHN does a remarkable job of helping people overcome the shame and stigma of experiencing homelessness. And they help people be able to talk about their experience to others in such a way that they really understand.

One experience really sticks in my mind. When the housing market first crashed, we were working together to talk with Senator Specter about the need for housing to be included in the stimulus package to jump start Low Income Housing Tax Credit and to provide homelessness assistance. A young woman joined our delegation. She was so lovely and well-dressed, articulate and able to talk about her experience. She had become homeless when she went back to school so she could improve opportunities for her son.

The Senator's staff really understood from her experience that there are people who are working hard and playing by the rules and still can't afford a place to live. That was NPIHN.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We all deserve to be treated with respect and dignity, and that is what NPIHN does. I had known about and supported the organization prior to volunteering. However when I spent time with the families, I was able to understand more fully the need for and direct impact of what NPIHN offerred and accomplished. I felt grateful to be able to offer some respite for the parents in the form of relaxation and yoga. I know the adults in the program have many requirements to be in this program, along with the challenges they face in their lives. They were so appreciative to come to a class that was solely for their self care and to de-stress. I know that this and other classes and support NPIHN gives to the families makes a lasting difference in their lives as they get a fresh start.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I taught at The Crefeld School in Chestnut Hill, and my Community Service group crocheted blankets to donate to NPIHN. When we visited, Rachel Falkove, the Executive Director, sat with my students and me for an hour discussing what the organization does. She inspired these young people and gave them a clearer picture of what it's like for youth to live without homes, and how easy it can be for families to fall into homelessness. Rachel took time out of her day to sit with my small group of students and share her wisdom with them. They were impressed that she had taken the time, and they learned a lot! NPIHN's work in the community is notable in many ways.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 4

This is a wonderful organization. IT brings together those needing help and those providing it in a very special way so that there can actually be a connection. This helps break down stereotypes and assumptions about those struggling financially. The guests in the program receive excellent service in terms of shelter, food and guidance, but most of all friendship.

Review from Guidestar

Advisor

Rating: 5

I have been involved with the program since the first meeting to explore the viability of the approach for Northwest Philadelphia. I have been a strong supporter since those early days and continue to volunteer weekly when our church hosts the families.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I worked as a volunteer with the NPIHN during my second year of seminary at the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia and I have led mission trips with my youth to work in the city with this organization. Working with the staff at NPIHN I have learned so much about the needs of homeless and low income families in the Philadelphia area and what it take to offer them support and hope, while still helping them maintain their dignity. This network is so special for many reasons, however I don't think this box is big enough to name the all, so I'll stick to the that have moved me the most. One is that NPIHN takes care of the whole family and addresses both the immediate needs of the guest, as well as helping them build long term goals to improve their lives. They help people learn money management skills, get job training, obtain education, and gain access to the resources they need to avoid becoming homeless again in the future. They also work with the children in the program to help them deal with the stress and embarrassment that often comes from being homeless. They help get kids re-enrolled in school and provide different therapy options to help give kids a more stable lifestyle. I also have to praise NPIHN for not just looking to alleviate the immediate suffering caused by homelessness, but for also addressing the root causes of it by advocating for fair housing practices, improved low income housing, and other important legislation that helps prevent people from becoming homeless in the first place. Finally as a pastor, I have to commend that they do all this while working with the many wonderful faith communities in the Germantown area. It is not easy to do any of the things I have mentioned above, however to do them and unit people of different faith backgrounds together around the common goal of caring for those most vulnerable in our society is truly special. I really can't say enough good things about this organization, it's leadership, and it's program. I'm proud to have been a part of it, and proud to help it in any way I can.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

NPIHN connected me with volunteers and supporters in my own and other faith communities as well as with the families in the program. The organization not only provides housing and other supports for those in need, but it also builds bridges amongst individuals who would otherwise never meet, nurturing a greater sense of American diversity.

Most of the volunteer opportunities are tightly constructed, making them easy to fit into a busy schedule, providing different types of familiar or new experiences, and preventing burn out. Those inclined to be more deeply involved can find numerous ways to participate in a leadership role. Engaging in this organization is both a giving and a rewarding experience.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is one of the most humane nonprofits I know of. NPIHN connects people that most likely would never meet and helps them see each other's humanity. NPIHN helps homeless families in a caring and constructive way. I am proud to be involved in such a needed and effective organization

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is the one non-profit I ALWAYS make time for. Between family, work, school and church, there is always something grabbing at your time. This is one of the few volunteer committments I truly enjoy and look forward to eagerly. I've gained much more in personal rewards than what I've given. My volunteer experiences have included cooking, donations of household goods, some legal work, and even dropping off Christmas presents.

Review from Guidestar

Board Member

Rating: 5

I feel really good about the program services provided to families. The approach is innovative and successful in helping families get on their feet and stay out of homelessness. Several of the families enrolled in the financial literacy program learned to save and have purchased homes.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 4

My husband & I would have been out on the street & living in our car if it had not been for NPIHN. I had a job, my husband did not. My salary alone was not enough to keep a roof over our heads and pay the other bills that go along with having a roof over our head. Staying with them allowed me to pay off many bills and save money to have a down payment on getting an apartment. As well as helping my husband get a job.

The shelters were Churches & Temples; a much safer place than the streets. The help & kindness was so comforting that we have made friends with different people from these sacred places. We just would not have made it through without them.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Whenever it is our church's turn to host the NPIHN guests, there is an exciting bustle of sign ups and plans, information sharing and questions about who is coming and what they will need.
Then they arrive and the church is a hive of action, getting people settled, accommodating special needs.
It is a good feeling to have them among us; they give us a small but real chance to live our faith, share our well-being and learn from people we have not met before. Our guests have repeatedly said they like the churches because they feel safe, and above all feel their children are safe while they live there.
Of course I wish they did not have to live from church to church, but had places of their own, but while they are with us they are a blessing to the whole church, and particularly to the congregants who eat, live, and wash dishes together with them. I thank them for their patience with us as we learn together.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been connected as a volunteer with NPIHN for four years. Firstly, I chaperoned guests who were homeless and stayed at our synagogue for two weeks at a time. The, through the Director of NPIHN, i began mentoring a young woman who was moving into a small row house and wanted someone to advise her on decorating and meal preparation. She has a three year old son, and it has been a pleasure to work with her and NPHIN to help her settle in.

We have developed a very close relationship. I have been guided by NPIHN staff in how to deal with her and in helping her connect to resources in the organization and the community. Her life wouldn't be the same without the assistance and guidance of the staff of this excellent organization.

Review from Guidestar

A.B.W.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Besides serving a crucial need in our community of housing homeless families, NPIHN offers an invaluable service to its volunteers. Through serving homeless families in a variety of ways, volunteers of all ages and religions are afforded the opportunity of putting a face on the phenomenon of homelessness. Volunteers see that "homeless" people are exactly like anyone else and deserve a decent place to live and assistance raising their family. Clients and volunteers can get to know each other a little bit and thus increase the chances of decreasing homelessness. Also, the executive director of this organization is one of the smartest people I know!

Review from Guidestar

Board Member

Rating: 5

I know the founder Russ Hill is proud that NPIHN has become a caring, professional network of congregations working with famlies that have found themselves on the street. The NPIHN board want to expand our network of caring, provide more affordable housing and work to end homelessness. Join us!

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Since its founding in 1991, NPIHN has sheltered, encouraged, cared for and placed in their own homes, 275 families representing over 700 individuals. Of these about 92% have stayed in their homes. We do not separate family members which means that both parents, infants and teenage children are kept together. Because NPIHN requires adults to finish their education, and helps them to make good grades and encourages them to get further training and education, several have gone on to get college degrees and most of the adults have far better jobs than they thought they would ever have. This has not only helped them keep homes, but it has improved their self image and helped guide their children to aspire to better educations and jobs thus breaking the cycle of despair and homelessness. Many of our former clients have returned to volunteer and we have actually hired two of them from time to time.

As one of our clients said, "This is a shelter that is not like a shelter." We depend on volunteers from 12 to 15 various religious congregations and in any year that means there are about 1000 volunteers working with 10 to 16 families at a time. Our volunteers are trained to listen and not pry and to care lovingly and not judge. The congregations they represent are active supporters in many ways and their neighborhoods, friends and relatives learn from them to be understanding and concerned enough to make a difference.

NPIHN shelters, encourages, empowers and provides specific training in family, child and maternal health and in financial management. For these programs we use professional leaders who frequently become volunteers.

I am proud to be associated with this organization as a board member, overnight host, provider of transportation and meals and
mentor.

Review from Guidestar