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. Lei mobilized a coalition of faith-based organizations within the Montgomery County community to establish the Interfaith Hospitality Network. It was the first Pennsylvania affiliate and the fourth 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 provides an opportunity for families to resolve their homelessness through intensive case management and life skills training while having access to safe, stable housing.
The Food Cupboard in Abington, which has served Montgomery County families in need since 1970, became a program of Inter-Faith Housing Alliance in 2001. The Cupboard, located in Roslyn, last year assisted more than 2,900 individuals experiencing food insecurity.
In 2015, a generous gift from First Presbyterian Church of Ambler made possible the purchase of a home in Ambler Borough, now known as Hope Forest. This new supportive housing program aims to bridge the gap between transitional housing and total independence. Residents work toward paying fair market rent and receive light case management as they move toward self-sufficiency.
Since her retirement from the Board of Inter-Faith in January 2012, Lei has continued to be a community-minded Montgomery County resident. She is still involved with Inter-Faith’s Resource Development Committee and remains as President Emerita of the Board.