It’s called the Interfaith Housing Association. Its president/CEO is an Episcopal priest. It’s a religious organization, right?
The IHA — an agency that provides homeless people with support and services — is a secular non-profit. The name dates to its founding in the mid-1980s. Rev. Ted Hoskins was a key player, and “interfaith” this-and-that was the rage nationwide.
The name has been “awkward,” current head Rev. Pete Powell admits. “People think we’re supported by religion. We’re not.”
Many corporate donors and foundations have policies against contributing to religious organizations. Though IHA has not lost any donations recently, Pete says, “we want to get out of having to always explain ourselves.”
This summer, Interfaith Housing Association becomes “Homes With Hope.” That’s the same name as their Saugatuck Avenue apartments. Directors and staff members think the name “Homes With Hope” communicates the organization’s focus on solutions to homelessness.
Powell has already mentioned the name change publicly, and it will be reinforced at the upcoming ribbon-cutting for the Rotary Centennial House. It becomes “official” when email addresses change, some time in August.