Local nonprofit has near-perfect record in resheltering families

By ERIC A. HOWALD Of the Keizertimes The Keizer City Council got a glimpse into one of the more successful organizations tackling the problem of homelessness in the mid-Willamette Valley. Recently-arrived Keizer resident TJ Putman briefly spoke to the council about his work as executive director of the Interfaith Hospitality Network (IHN), a non-profit collective of 19 local churches transitioning homeless families into homes of their own. “We’re having great outcomes. You guys are making a difference in homelessness and you probably didn’t even know it,” Putman said. Salem and Keizer partner as a joint jurisdiction to tap into the HOME Investment Partnership Program offered by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development. IHN receives about $200,000 annually to help rehouse families with children, but services it has developed around that core need have led to a 96 percent success rate once families move out of temporary shelter. Each week, an IHN church – including St. Edward Catholic Church in Keizer – opens up its doors to homeless families who receive a meal and spend the evening there before returning to the IHN day site in west Salem to prepare for school and work. Keizer’s Salem Mennonite Church and Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints are supporting congregations, but do not host. “Volunteers from the churches and the community prepare meals for families and there is...

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