Interfaith Hospitality Network of Warren County's (IHNWC) mission is to provide meals, hospitality, and support for homeless families. Our goal is to maintain the integrity & dignity of the family during this critical time as they seek to build a better life.
Interfaith Hospitality Network of Warren County (IHNWC) opened its doors in October of 1998. During that
time, many questioned if Warren County even had an issue with homeless families. During IHNWC's first
year of operation, 28 homeless families were taken into the program. Unfortunately, the number of families
in need of housing has only increased since 1998.
With humble beginnings on Lebanon's Cherry Street, IHNWC has transformed substantially. Now located at
203 E. Warren Street, IHNWC not only offers non-emergency shelter services, but also provides Homeless
Prevention & Rapid-Rehousing, Free Tax Preparation, Furniture Assistance, and access to the State of Ohio's
In addition to these programs, IHNWC works to find solutions for community members undergoing hardship. For example, a homeless individual may enter the office with nowhere to go. IHNWC will assist in finding a roof to put over this individual's head for the night. Or, an individual in an abusive relationship may contact the office needing shelter. IHNWC will locate the appropriate services in Warren County, and advise the individual of the best action to take. These instances are part of our referral process. In 2016 alone, IHNWC processed over 1,300 referrals.
To date, IHNWC has assisted over 600 homeless families to successfully find housing solutions, inclusive to over 1,000 children and 100 expecting mothers.
How it Works
IHNWC is able to function as a family shelter as a result from a dedicated network of volunteers, who serve at host churches. Each evening, IHNWC houseguests are transported to a local church. These churches rotate hosting responsibilities on a weekly basis. Once IHNWC houseguests arrive at the host church, they say Grace, and enjoy a warm meal prepared by church volunteers.
The houseguests that do not work third shift will retire to their rooms each evening, where they will sleep as a family. Adults can stay up until 11 PM, teens 10 PM, and children must be put to bed at 8:30 PM. Those who do work third shift will have to catch up on sleep the following day at the IHNWC Day Center. Early the next morning, the houseguests prepare breakfast, and are back on the IHNWC bus to return to the Day Center.
Once at the Day Center, it's all about business. Houseguests get to work making appointments, finding employment (a requirement to stay longer than two weeks), meeting their case manager, handling legal matters, and fulfilling their requirements needed for housing. No day at IHNWC is an easy day; houseguests always have something to do in order to prepare for their departure from the program. Those who are in the IHNWC program also spend one hour of each week performing community service, which is something that will come in useful later.
Once a family is ready to depart from IHNWC, they are entitled to shop in the Heaven & Hearth furniture ministry in order to furnish their new home.
An IHNWC houseguest steps off of the bus with her child before entering the host church.
One of the many rooms containing furniture for IHNWC houseguests once they're ready to move into their new home.