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Home & Hope History

In January of 2001, Chad Smith, then Rector at Transfiguration Episcopal Church in San Mateo, brought to his church the Interfaith Hospitality Network model of congregations offering their facilities as shelter for homeless people, thus beginning the history of IHN in California.

In the Fall of 2009, the IHN leadership and board of directors went through a discernmeent process which resulted in changing the name of the organization from San Mateo County IHN to Home & Hope.

Today, with more than 30 congregations and support organizations participating, Home & Hope offers 5,110 shelter bed nights and 15,000 meals each year, continuing to operate on the simple principle that our homeless families are our “guests” whose needs are primarily met by volunteer “hosts” who welcome them into their congregational homes--- not “clients” whose needs are overseen by case managers in an impersonal, institutional setting offered by most traditional shelters.

From its earliest days, the mission of IHN has been to provide a safe haven to homeless families, to break the cycle of homelessness, and to help families re-establish long-term self-sufficiency. A testament to our success is that more than 50% of our families have returned to permanent housing directly from our emergency shelter program, bypassing the transitional shelter step seen in traditional shelter programs.

From its inception as IHN to its evolution as Home & Hope, our mission remains:
to provide a safe haven for homeless families while helping them to regain long-term self-sufficiency and raise community consciousness on the issue of homelessness by actively engaging volunteers.