Family Promise IHN North Kent (Interfaith Hospitality Network) is collaboration between Family Promise of Grand Rapids and North Kent Connect that aims to end homelessness, one area family at a time.
Family Promise engages churches and community organizations to provide basic needs to homeless families and children seeking permanent housing. Family Promise facilitates a temporary place to stay through its network of local churches. North Kent Connect refers families (up to five families per week/14 people max) to Family Promise so they have a safe place to stay while they are looking for a place to call home.
Please note that we are not a shelter.
What Do the Churches Do?
Host congregations provide a private room within their churches for families to stay each night. Volunteers from support and host congregations provide meals and evening activities for the children. This builds both relationships and a sense of community.
To inquire about becoming a host church, contact Kelsy Vining at Family Promise at (616) 475-5220, or visit familypromisegr.org.
What Happens During the Day?
In the morning, the families go to the Family Promise Day Center at North Kent Connect where they can do life: go to work, shower, do laundry, prepare lunch, look for employment, search for housing, and work with a Family Promise case manager.
Does IHN Work?
Family Promise of Grand Rapids reports that 90% of the families it serves find a new home, and 85% are still housed two years later. It works because families facing a housing crisis are kept together (e.g. fathers and sons are not separated from mothers and daughters) and receive continuous support and mentors to help them achieve sustainable self-sufficiency.
“If our local church cannot exist to provide periodic respite for the most basic of needs—food and shelter—then what does it exist for? This is a well thought-out and critical ministry for families who need temporary housing. I’ve attended Sparta Baptist for 60 years. This is one of the best uses of our building I can think of.”– Larry Carter, IHN North Kent Connect Volunteer
“Sparta Baptist is privileged to be part of the IHN program. We believe it falls in line with Jesus’ call to care for “the least of these.” These families are not “less than” in value, but are vulnerable, traumatized, and in need of love, care, and encouragement. We finished up our week of hosting on Oct. 24, 2021. During our week, one of the moms was able to find a job, which was a huge blessing. I am proud of North Kent Connect’s vision to build the Day Center and tackle homelessness.”– Ben Taylor, Pastor, Sparta Baptist and North Kent Connect Board Member