Inter-Faith Housing Alliance

31 South Spring Garden St.

Ambler, PA 19002

 

Marsha Eichelberger

(215) 628-2334

office@i-fha.org

 

www.i-fha.org

 

Inter-faith Housing Alliance is an organization that seeks to address both the immediate needs of families experiencing homelessness and the systemic issues that contribute to homelessness in their service area. IFHA was founded 30 years ago as a grass roots organization by Lei Berry who had experienced homelessness herself. It began as a hotline and, then, 25 years ago enlisted a coalition of congregations to provide temporary housing for homeless families. This organization creates multiple "zones of peace" for individuals and families in crisis, providing emergency shelter, a food cupboard, short-term housing in area congregations, and long-term transitional housing.  These services temporarily alleviate the violence of poverty, domestic abuse, and food and housing insecurity. Today, there are twelve congregations that open their facilities for one month each year to house homeless families, most often single mothers and their children. They provide meeting spaces for education and recreation. Congregation members also bring meals each day to share with their guests. “Hope Gardens” is the apartment complex IFHA runs for “Transitional Housing.” With 8 units that range from 2 to 4 bedrooms, Hope Gardens’ residents are allowed to stay for up to 2 years as long as they are actively working toward goals for family stability set with a case manager. All residents pay rent, create savings, and have an exit strategy. IFHA now manages a Food Cupboard, which opened in 1970 at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Abington. It serves an average of 100 families per month, and collects food from churches and individuals throughout Lower Montgomery County.