Since 1982 Inter-Faith Housing Alliance has been serving vulnerable families in Montgomery County who are experiencing homelessness.
Founder Lei Barry’s call to action was born of personal experience. In 1965, she and her two children became homeless. Because Lei and her family struggled for years before being able to access the resources needed to improve their lives, she and other members of the community launched a 24-hour emergency hotline to connect homeless families with community resources.
Within seven years, the program evolved to also provide emergency shelter, food, and crucial services to homeless families. Based on the successful Interfaith Hospitality Network model, Lei mobilized a coalition of faith-based organizations within the Montgomery County community to establish what was then called the Interfaith Hospitality Network. It was the first Pennsylvania affiliate and the third in the nation.
In 1995, Inter-Faith Housing Alliance expanded once again to meet community needs by establishing Hope Gardens. This long-term transitional housing program provided an opportunity for families to resolve their homelessness through intensive case management and life skills training while having access to safe, stable housing.
In January 2012, Lei retired from the board of Inter-Faith Housing Alliance, where she was not only founder but also its first board president. Lei is still a community-minded Montgomery County resident who currently serves on the Resource Development Committee and as President Emeritus of the Board.