March 2020

Dear Friends of IHN,

Our first newsletter for 2020 is an ideal time to reflect on the past year and look forward to the year to come. First and foremost, HUGE THANKS to all our donors, congregations and volunteers. I am not being dramatic when I say that without your support our families would be staying in cars, having children taken away because they do not have safe shelter or be living on the streets. Your financial contributions and the gift of your time are crucial in keeping our families safe and together. THANK YOU! 

As the new Interim Director, it is my privilege to continue IHN's mission to serve families of Essex County struggling with homelessness. It is my aim to grow the programs that we provide and expand the community that helps us do it. So far this year, we have been successful in growing the number of congregations that host our IHN families for shelter. We have also seen a yearly increase in the number of families we are able to serve. But unfortunately, it is not all good news: in Essex County the need for emergency shelter and services for homeless families continues to grow and as a result the requests for our services have increased. The fight continues. We look forward to working with you in 2020 to advance our holistic approach to fighting homelessness and giving families a better quality of life.

With gratitude,
Jackie Baillargeon
Interim Executive Director
You Make an Impact!
Families Making Progress

Marlesha Ross was working part-time at FedEx and living in Newark with her three-year-old daughter. When FedEx cut her hours, she found herself experiencing homelessness. She and her daughter bounced from shelter to shelter for months. Marlesha felt uncomfortable having her daughter stay at any of them. Then Marlesha found IHN.

IHN provided Marlesha and her daughter with emergency shelter, while also working with her to find an apartment that she could afford. Unfortunately, with a job that was cutting hours and not paying enough to cover the bills, that was a difficult task.

While in IHN’s shelter program, Marlesha’s daughter turned four years old – but a birthday party was not in the budget. IHN coordinated with St. Philomena’s Church in Livingston to fulfill the little girl’s wish – a Little Mermaid party. She was thrilled – the excitement on her face showed it all! 

Just when Marlesha thought that finding more stable employment and housing wasn’t in her future, a new path opened up in front of her. IHN volunteer and Beth El Congregation member, Debra Horowitz, informed her that Audible, an Amazon company, was hiring in Newark and guided Marlesha to apply. After a series of interviews, Marlesha got the job! They offered her full-time employment, an increase in pay, and benefits that made her life much more manageable. For the first time in a quite a while, Marlesha felt excited about her future.

IHN was then able to find Marlesha and her daughter an apartment. They finally had a stable place to call home. “Every time I turn the key in that door, I feel a rush of relief,” Marlesha said with a sigh. 

Marlesha credits Debra for showing up just when she was losing hope. Marlesha told us, “It speaks to the type of volunteers at IHN.” IHN and its volunteers are dedicated to supporting families during a time of crisis.

Currently, Marlesha has been at Audible for six months and is winning awards for her hard work. She is now able to afford more pleasures in life, such as calling an Uber when it is raining, enrolling her daughter in a gym class, and even being able to buy something at the grocery store that is not on sale.

We wish you much success and happiness, Marlesha!

IHN extends a huge thank you to Debra Horowitz and to our many donors and volunteers who make it possible for families to change the future for their children.

$7500 Coldwell Banker Donation Continues Support of IHN's Work

Thank you Coldwell Banker Charitable Foundation for your donation of $7500! Jackie Baillargeon, IHN’s Interim Executive Director, expressed our appreciation: “We are incredibly grateful to Coldwell Banker Charitable Foundation for their generous donation. The need for emergency shelter and services for families experiencing homelessness is growing. This grant comes at a critical time when an increased number of families are reaching out to us for support.” Thank you to our board member, Sheri Lacy, for connecting us to this opportunity!

Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, the leading real estate company in the Midwest, established the Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Charitable foundation in 2007. The foundation states: “Our primary purpose is to support local housing-related charities that directly benefit the needs of the people and communities we are privileged to serve.”

For more information, please visit .
Please Support IHN Programs
IHN at Project Homeless Connect Day
On January 31st, non-profit organizations from all over Essex County met at the Branch Brook Park Roller Skating Center in Newark, NJ for the 14th Annual Project Homeless Connect Day. Together we provided goods and services to those experiencing or at risk of homelessness. Thank you to all our donors and volunteers that made Project Homeless Connect Day a great success for IHN’s families!
We Appreciate all our Donors and Volunteers

The staff at  Kessler Rehabilitation Center  in Clifton, NJ sent us over 100 pairs of socks in a giant hand-made sock container. Thank you for this thoughtful and needed donation!

 The students and staff at  South Mountain Elementary School in South Orange donated   40 decorated bags of toiletries for Project Homeless Connect Day. Our IHN families use all of these items, and we so appreciate this considerate project complete with the students’ artistic touch!

The IHN children have warm and adorable pajamas for the winter thanks to to  Ginge and the staff at  Allison Ziefert Real Estate Group - Keller Williams Mid-Town Direct . Ginge and her team have been donating pajamas throughout the year and are keeping our children cozy in their beds. Thank you!

A Valentine’s Day surprise for our IHN children arrived from  Janet Christmann and the students at Winston Preparatory Schoo l in Whippany, NJ. The children were delighted to open gift bags filled with goodies and heart-felt wishes.
Welcome Our New IHN Staff
Belinda Bryant joined IHN as our van driver. She plays the essential role of transporting our IHN families to congregational shelters, work, school, and IHN workshops and programs. Welcome, Belinda, to IHN!
Call for Host and Support Congregations
Our Families Need Hosts!

Prospect Presbyterian Church, a pillar of our emergency shelter network, has hosted families for 32 years.
We still have a few weeks open in 2020 that haven’t yet been assigned to a network congregation. If your congregation is able to host our families, please contact Angie Benedict, our Volunteer Manager, to find out how you can help.

Contact Angie Benedict at
or call 973-746-1400
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