Frequently Asked Questions

How long do families stay in the Network?

The Guest Guidelines call for a maximum stay of 30 days. However, Network Directors often extend the stay as long as the family is making good-faith efforts to secure housing. For this reason families typically stay for 60 days or more.

Where do guest families stay during the day on weekends?

In most Networks, families stay at the day center. In other Networks, the congregation coordinators organize special activities for the families to participate in.

How are families referred to the Network?

Local social service agencies refer to the Network as they deem appropriate. Upon their referral the Network Director completes a thorough screening process prior to accepting the family into the Network. Because the Network is staffed primarily by volunteers it does not accept: individuals with untreated or severe mental illness, those who use drugs or alcohol (guests are tested), those with recent felonies, those seeking shelter from domestic violence, those with contagious illness.

How many host congregations are needed to form a Network?

A Network needs 8 to 13 congregations, with many Networks having 10. Hosting rotates between congregations on a weekly basis so that each congregation hosts 4-5 times per year. Fewer than 8 congregations could be overtaxing and jeopardize participation while more than 13 dilutes the experience for congregations.

What facilities do host congregations need to have for guests?

Facilities must include a lounge area (with sofa, chairs, tables, tv), a dining area, a kitchen, bathrooms, and sleeping accommodations. Ideally, congregations provide a separate room, such as a classroom, for each family. If that isn't possible, a fellowship hall or other large room can be divided by partitions to provide privacy.

Our building is in use almost all the time. How will we find space?

Buildings of worship are busy places with many demands on their space. Rarely does a perfect space exist. Hosting almost always means making some scheduling adjustments for activities and meetings, during the 4-5 times a year a congregation is hosting.

What is the approximate cost to my congregation for hosting with IHN?

There is no cost to join the Network. The cost for hosting is about $200 per year, based on minor supply needs. Members of the congregation and local businesses often donate the necessary supplies.

What are the insurance implications in the Network? Does the congregation have to amend its policy?

The Network carries its own general liability insurance. In addition, congregations are often covered by their own property and liability policies because IHN is considered to be an outreach ministry. While most congregations do not need extra insurance to be hosts, each congregation must contact its insurance agent to be certain.