Two hundred guests filled the Walb Classic Ballroom at IPFW on Saturday, November 18, 2017. They were treated to live music, an auction and raffle of interesting items, tasty appetizers, and a bowl of soup. Bowls made by the University of St. Francis students were given to guests as a reminder of the homeless families we serve. A short video, "A Future for Families", by Brad Bores Films featured families and staff sharing their stories about homelessness and how Just Neighbors assists families. The brief JUST TALK program included Susan Boyd, president, board of trustees, and Rev. Terry Anderson, executive director.
JUST DINNER benefits Fort Wayne's only emergency shelter serving homeless families.
Photo Credits: Craig Smith
Simple table decorations Neil Bryson & Carla Kilgore entertain
Unique auction items Too many raffle choices
A few of our guests
Download our 2015 Annual Report and read about highlights of the year, program outcomes, the financial report, and enjoy photos of children, families, and volunteers.
It’s a New Day at Just Neighbors Interfaith Homeless Network
It’s a new day for Just Neighbors Interfaith Homeless Network. For nearly ten years Just Neighbors IHN utilized a small, overcrowded home on Gay Street as a day center and housed homeless families at various church locations during the night. Though Just Neighbors IHN “host congregations” were extraordinarily kind, generous, and hospitable to their “guests,” it became increasingly clear through the years that moving from site to site on a weekly basis was difficult for families, especially children, already traumatized by homelessness. After considerable discussion and soul-searching, Just Neighbors Interfaith Homeless Network board conducted a capital campaign and obtained a federal grant to purchase land, renovate buildings, and provide a more stable residential facility for families.
The facility at 2925 East State Blvd. is now a reality! Families now reside in private bedrooms and share the common areas of kitchen, family-room, and playroom for children. While Just Neighbors IHN remains an emergency shelter (and in fact is the only area emergency shelter for homeless families), these families consistently report that they feel more “at home” through the crisis of homelessness. At the new Just Neighbors IHN family center, families find a firm foundation from which to take their first steps toward a return to independence and self-sufficiency.
Another significant impact of the expanded facilities of Just Neighbors IHN is that we are able to serve so many more families in need. More than double the number of family members can now receive shelter and services. With the current economic crisis facing our nation, more and more people have desperately needed crisis housing. Just Neighbors IHN is better positioned than ever before to respond to this need with welcoming hearts and professional case management. Just Neighbors IHN was founded from the challenge and call to serve the “least of these” in our community. Now we can serve better than ever before.
Most families coming to Just Neighbors IHN have left difficult, desperate circumstances. They may have been living in an apartment without electricity or heat. They may have been living in their car. They may have been “bouncing” from the home of one family member to another. They may have been “split apart” to access services available only to homeless individuals. At Just Neighbors IHN they now have a place to think of as their own. While it is a key part of our mission to move families forward toward self-sufficiency and independence as quickly as possible, it is just as important that they feel welcome during their stay with us. The warm welcome so characteristic of Just Neighbors Interfaith Homeless Network is given even greater expression in our new family center.
In the new Just Neighbors IHN facility, volunteers from host congregations now come to the East State location to provide the evening meal, fellowship with guests, and read and play with children. These volunteers continue to be the heart of Just Neighbors IHN ministry. Just as guest families have lost their homes, so too have they lost a sense of self-esteem and identity. Meaningful engagement with congregational volunteers helps to affirm our guests as the valuable human beings they are. The relationship among guests and volunteers is a remarkable experience of learning and growing for all. The increased space afforded by the renovated and expanded family center provides many more opportunities for a variety of activities shared by guests and volunteers.
To all who made the new Just Neighbors Interfaith Homeless Network family center a reality: Thank you so much! Your generosity and kindness have already touched the lives of many people. Your goodwill and compassionate action promise to have a positive impact on families for generations to come.
Please contact us to find out how your congregation or group can become a part of Just Neighbors IHN Network of service!