Vacant church rooms host homeless Mid-South families - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Vacant church rooms host homeless Mid-South families

The MIHN van brings beds to rotating churches in the program. The MIHN van brings beds to rotating churches in the program.

(WMC-TV) - A couple of families in need are finding shelter in spare rooms in one Germantown church, in addition congregation members are supplying food, rides and clothes for the individuals.

But Germantown Presbyterian is not the only church in the Mid-South to participate in this effort to end homelessness.

Memphis Interfaith Hospitality Network works with 14 other congergations in the Mid-South to provide shelter and comprehensive support for homeless families with children.

According to the Director Amy Barnes, MIHN is one of the two only emergency housing programs in the Memphis area that allows families to stay together.

Families rotate churches every week to two weeks; the host church provides bedding and dinner as well as transportation to a school, a person's place of employment or the day site - which is usually First Baptist Church of Memphis.

The day center is the base of operation for families while they search for jobs and permanent housing.

It has shower and laundry facilities, a family room, a kitchen, a nap room and play areas for the kids. Extremely experienced case managers provide family stabilization services for the guests.

MIHN began in 1996 and is proud to be a network of the national organization Family Promise.

The local nonprofit organization serves an average of about 25 to 30 families a year, most families stay in the program for roughly 60 days.

On average, there is an 89% success rate of the families who graduate from the program.

MIHN has served more than 500 families in the Mid-South offering shelter, food, clothing transportation and companionship until they are moved into permanent or transitional housing.

Along with 700 people who volunteer for MIHN a year, MIHN partners with other Mid-South organizations such as the Memphis Family Shelter, Dress for Success, Baptist Mobile Outreach and Hospitality Hub.

MIHN is a part of Mayor A C Wharton's action plan to end homelessness in Memphis.

The most recent annual one-day "point-in-time count" in Memphis found more than 300 people who said they slept outside or in abandoned buildings, compared to 184 who said they slept outside organized shelters in 2011.

The 2011 count identified 1,942 individuals overall who were homeless.

Families stay anonymous in this program. The church rooms and spaces that the families stay in are utilized during Sunday services and other classes.

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