Just Neighbors Interfaith Homeless Network was created in 1999 as a grassroots response to the need for emergency shelter for homeless families in our community. Modeled on national programs promoting family stability and self-sufficiency, Just Neighbors IHN opened its doors to local families in November 2000.
Originally, Just Neighbors IHN used available space in local churches to provide night-time shelter for families. Each morning, the families were transported to Just Neighbors IHN’s Day Center in a small house in downtown Fort Wayne. The maximum daily capacity of the program was 14 individuals. In February of 2009, Just Neighbors IHN moved to a new family center on State Street so that it could increase capacity to 40 clients and provide on-site services. Since 2007, Just Neighbors IHN has more than doubled the number of families served annually. Today, Just Neighbors IHN is the only local shelter in Fort Wayne providing emergency housing for homeless families.
When Just Neighbors Interfaith Homeless Network was founded by concerned citizens and congregations as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, other homeless shelters did exist in Fort Wayne, but none had the capacity to provide emergency shelter that would keep the entire family together. Homeless families had been forced to separate with the women and children in one location and men at a separate shelter. Just Neighbors IHN's goal is to work with families to return them to self-sufficiency, keeping the family unit together throughout the process. The dignity and worth of each family are cherished hallmarks of the hospitality of Just Neighbors IHN program.
Families have private rooms and share common space in the family center for the duration of their stay at Just Neighbors IHN. While the previous model worked and served families very well, being able to remain in one location has made it easier on the families being served, especially the children. Host congregations still come to the family center to provide evening meals, fellowship, and programming for the families we know as our guests.
Please contact us to find out how your congregation or group can become a part of Just Neighbors IHN Network of service!