The IHN Shelter program provides emergency shelter to homeless families with children through a network of Madison area churches and synagogues. Volunteers from these congregations provide overnight shelter, three meals per day and evening activities for the families. Daytime shelter and case management services are provided at The Road Home office and day center. Families staying in shelter must work with a case manager to seek housing, employment and other community services and attend educational workshops. Transportation between locations is provided by The Road Home.
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. Together with The Road Home, IHN provides a safety net for families facing a housing crisis so they can recover and get back on their feet.
“Dianna” had been working the same job as an Emergency Room Dispatcher for over 15 years at a Madison area hospital. Due to family health problems, she had no other choice but to quit her job to care for her family members. During this time, Dianna’s daughter was incarcerated and Dianna got custody of her young grandsons; seven-year-old “Troy” and five-year-old “Terrel”. With no stable income, she was ultimately evicted.
After spending time at the YWCA shelter in Madison, the family then transitioned to The Road Home Interfaith Hospitality Network (IHN) Shelter program. Dianna got along well with all of the families in shelter, the entire staff, and all of the volunteers. Being a grandmother with a lot of life experience, the younger parents in shelter often looked to her for advice and encouragement. However, the feelings of hopelessness and extreme exhaustion began to affect even Dianna's bright spirit. Finally, in her last week in the IHN Shelter, she was accepted to the Second Chance Apartment Project, and was given an opportunity to stabilize her family.
While in the IHN Shelter program, Dianna worked hard to obtain income and most importantly, spent countless hours with school staff, psychologists, psychiatrists, therapists and others to get the proper support needed for her grandchildren. Troy and Terrel both enjoyed spending time with the staff, especially taking walks outside.
Dianna and the boys are doing wonderfully now in stable housing. Both of the boys are exceeding expectations in school and are getting along really well. Dianna appreciates the love and support she received from The Road Home's staff and volunteers, especially at a time when she needed it most in life.