The Road Home (IHN) Mission

The Road Home in Dane County serves homeless families with children in collaboration with local faith communities and organizations. The part of the Road Home that we participate in is the Interfaith Hospitality Network (IHN) Shelter Program. This program provides emergency shelter to homeless families with children through a network of Madison area churches and synagogues.

The IHN Shelter program began in 1999 with a dozen congregations dedicated to providing shelter to homeless families with children. IHN is now very proud to say that there are 54 congregations and more than 1,500 active volunteers.
St. John’s has been a host church for IHN since the mid-2000s. We act as the host church, and Community of Life, Holy Mother of Consolation, People’s United Methodist, First Presbyterian are our “buddy” congregations. These five churches work together as a team.
We host for one week at a time, from Sunday to Sunday. The families are at the church starting at 6 p.m. on Sunday, eat dinner, have activities with their kids, and lights are out at 10 p.m. We serve them a hot breakfast and the van comes to pick everyone up at 7 a.m. We also provide food for lunches. We need a number of volunteers to help us host. Volunteers can participate in a variety of ways, including helping with food, playing with the children and setting up and taking down everything needed to host the families.
The IHN program can support about 16 people in shelter at one time, because they have a 17-passenger van than shuttles families from the church to their schools, jobs or to the day center on Olin Avenue if they are seeking employment. Sometimes a family will have their own transportation, and then we might have slightly more than 16 people in the shelter when they are with us.
We host four weeks out of the year, even over holidays; homelessness does not take a holiday. All adults are screened for substance abuse and mental health disorders so they can get help through other avenues besides IHN.

 The Road Home will be at St. John’s Lutheran one more time, and that will be, February 4-11, 2018. Look for Volunteer sign ups to be posted late January on the sign up board in the Gathering Area. The Road Home is continuing their mission to find permanent housing for homeless children and their adults, but will no longer use the shelter program rotating families from church to church for two months. Now, they will work to place families right away into permanent housing.