Guilford Interfaith Hospitality Network (GIHN) coordinates a group of volunteers from over 50 Triad churches and faith communities who provide temporary shelter and care to local homeless children and their families. To learn how to connect your church or faith community to this ministry, click here. GIHN also operates two day centers and provides professional case managment and couseling to our guest families.
GIHN first formed in 1997, and the first guests were hosted in October 1999 at Friendly Ave. Church of Christ in Greensboro. High Point followed suit in 2001. Each city's faith communities support the activities of separate GIHN day center. The faith communities organized to host and care for the guests of a GIHN day center are called a rotation.
Through the participating faith communities, hundreds of volunteers, and GIHN dedicated staff, homeless children and their families are provided temporary shelter, meals, hospitality, case management services, and hope. The guests stay at the GIHN day centers during the day and at local faith communities at night.
The adults in our guest families meet at least weekly with a Program Director to develop and monitor an action plan with specific goals: saving money, arranging for various public assistance, finding housing, securing employment, going back to school, arranging for childcare, etc. The Program Director only facilitates the process. The plan belongs to the guests, and they make it happen. The average stay for guest families is about 40 days. The initial stay is 30 days, but based on sustained effort on their plan, a family's stay may be extended for 2 more 30-day periods, making 90 days the maximum stay. GIHN’s success rate is a little better than 85%.
Guest families stay overnight at a host congregation’s facility, usually in Sunday school rooms or nurseries made over by the volunteers to be as homey as possible. GIHN furnishes the beds. In the morning volunteers provide breakfast, encouragement, and transportation to one of GIHN's day centers where the children are picked up by Guilford County Schools. During the day the adults either go to work, look for work, attend classes, or care for younger children, all the while working their plan preparing for permanent housing.
In the evening our guest families are transported by volunteers in one of GIHN’s vans to the same host congregation. Volunteers welcome guests, help the families settle in for the evening, provide dinner, encouragement, and fellowship.
Each Sunday the host congregation changes, and guest families meet a whole new volunteer support network. Over these last 10 years GIHN has helped nearly 1,000 children and their parents or grandparents, sometimes, find permanent housing. More than that, our volunteers have provided love and hope to those in need by following the admonition of the Prophet Isaiah “ . . . to divide your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into the house.” Isaiah 58:7