A family of seven living in a small three-bedroom apartment came to us under threat of eviction. The number of people in their rental unit exceeded what was allowed. The parents dreamed of providing a home of their own for their five children. Despite having a good income, they were struggling financially due to medical bills accrued during one child’s battle with cancer. They joined the C.A.S.H. Program and opened their KS IDA with the goal of finding a home for their family.
Did you know that Interfaith maintains a house with the primary purpose of housing volunteers who have come to support the work of Interfaith Housing and Community Services? Helping hands, both skilled and unskilled, are vital in the fulfillment of our mission. Since our inception, caring people have come from not only Reno County, but all across the world to make a difference in our community.
A Mission at Home is an initiative to encourage local churches and civic organizations who may already do annual mission trips to invest that time in Hutchinson — not only creating an influx of volunteer hours to address the needs of our community, but also to create better cooperation, understanding and civic pride.
Our work boils down to neighbors seeing neighbors struggling, and coming together to take care of each other. Our supporters directly impact the lives of people in our community each day through their generosity. That is how we began and we remain firmly rooted in that.
Many of you know the story of how Interfaith came to be. At a housing meeting in 1989, there was an in-depth discussion of the housing needs in our community — particularly concerning low-income households. One of our founders, Helen Rosenblad, was at that meeting and noticed that there was a gap in services.
I recently sat down to chat with Kelsi Depew, former CASH and IDA program client, to chat about her experience with the program and where she is now.
When a friend told Kelsi and her husband John about the CASH program at Interfaith Housing and the IDA match, it sounded too good to be true. They had been living in a rental cabin in the country about one-tenth of an acre and had dreams of some land that they could homestead.
A fellow classmate referred Teala to Interfaith Housing Services but when she heard about the Kansas Individual Development Account (IDA) Program she thought it was too good to be true. She was in her last few semesters of college, working full time and taking out student loans to pay for her tuition and fees. After completing the IDA program, Teala was able to graduate college with minimal student loan debt, just as she hoped.
HUTCHINSON – In response to changing community needs and their growth to address adaptive challenges, Interfaith Housing Services has changed its name to Interfaith Housing & Community Services. At an open house celebrating its new rebrand, CEO Lorna Moore announced the name change along with a new website, organizational identity and mission statement.
“We are not leaving behind Interfaith Housing as it has been, but building on the solid foundation created by all those years of hard work and cooperation. It was important as I worked on the design that you clearly see in the new identity how we honor and continue the work which brought us here,” said Rebekah Starkey Keasling, Interfaith’s director of development and marketing.
Since 1991, Interfaith Housing has been working to fill the gap and meet the housing needs of those in our community who are least likely to find help through traditional means. Interfaith still works to meet communities’ housing needs through home repair and rehabilitation, affordable rentals and housing development. However, over the years the organization has grown to include programs such as the Kansas Individual Development Accounts, and Take Control, which not only meet immediate housing needs but also to address issues of financial education and individual empowerment. Through close collaboration with city government and other local organizations, Interfaith has worked to transform and revitalize neighborhoods and communities through focused intervention.
“For almost 30 years Interfaith has served the people of this community. It is with the same passion of our founders that we will proudly continue their legacy,” said Moore.
Interfaith Housing & Community Services seeks to alleviate poverty and build community through housing assistance, financial education and individual empowerment. We envision communities where people have the knowledge and tools to achieve financial self-sufficiency, and access to housing that is affordable to their level of income, accessible to their level of need; where they can live in safety with dignity. Interfaith Housing & Community Services, Inc. is a proud partner of United Way of Reno County and Hutchinson Community Foundation.
I stopped in to see Toni this week and she is doing great. She had just gotten off work and was hanging out with her dog, Shade. Before coming to Interfaith years ago, Toni and Shade were living in a tent in a friend’s back yard.
Is a new name bringing residents of a Hutchinson neighborhood closer together?
The question is explored in a new article in The Journal, from the Kansas Leadership Foundation.
Read the article here and learn more about the community lead revitalization in this historic Hutchinson neighborhood.