If IHOC could sum up its philosophy in a few words or with a short phrase it would be “quality over quantity.” We aim not just to temporarily alleviate the suffering of a large segment of the homeless but rather to change their lives and get them off the streets for good. It is difficult, if not impossible, for impersonal and overstretched bureaucracies to make the kind substantial impact on a person’s life that our organization regularly does each and every year through a more caring, attentive, and hands-on approach.
Over the course of our history we have impacted the lives of over 650 homeless men through our Homeless Hospitality Network, provided transitional housing for 64 homeless men at the John Dambly Transitional House in Lawnside, New Jersey and delivered housing to 10 families in our Permanent Housing Program. In addition to these programs we have also supplied thousands of homeless, men, women and children with school supplies and personal care items as part of our Adopt-A-Box and Pack-A-Sack campaigns.
Our mission is to serve as a collective parent organization coordinating the people-power and resources of our member congregations and individuals to provide effective outreach to homeless people in our county.
The Interfaith Homeless Outreach Council had humble beginnings as an informal coalition of eight local congregations. In the winter of 1989-1990 this initial group of congregations, concerned with the lack of facilities and programs for the homeless in Camden, participated in a pilot program to house a small group of homeless men in their own facilities as an alternative to the county’s overcrowded and unsafe shelters. The following year, this initial group of eight decided to enlist the support of other local congregations and expand their efforts. It was at this point that the Interfaith Homeless Outreach Council was officially born.
Today IHOC is made up of over forty congregations from many faiths and cultures. Since its inception two decades ago, IHOC has made an incredible impact on the lives of countless homeless individuals and dramatically increased the scope of its activities. We have continued to refine and adopt our practices over the years to improve our efforts towards helping those homeless individuals we take into our programs.