History

Major Milestones

Starting with a small shelter program in 1986, Homefirst has been at the forefront of best practices and remains flexible and responsive to meet the changing needs of our communities.  Our story is best told via a timeline of milestones throughout our 28-year history:

1986

Founded as Interfaith Council for the Homeless of Union County as a partnership with religious congregations to provide homeless women and families with shelter, food and supportive services.

Early 1989

Began providing rental assistance to families so they could transition from our shelter to their own homes.

Late 1989

Shifted from a volunteer-based shelter program to a direct service organization staffed by professionals partnering with volunteers.

1995

Embraced a new national model “Housing First” that centers on providing the homeless with access to a permanent home and supportive services as needed.

1996

With funding from HUD and supportive donors, purchased and operated our first four affordable homes for four homeless and disabled families.

2006

Changed our name to Homefirst Interfaith Housing and Family Services Inc. to capture our broader vision to provide housing, homeless prevention emergency assistance and family support services.

1997-2007

Continued to acquire affordable homes for homeless, disabled, or low income families through government funding and donor support. By 2007, there were 28 families in safe and affordable homes with supportive services provided by dedicated staff.

2006

In partnership with the Junior League of Summit, began to operate two Transitional units for families impacted by domestic violence.

2008

A new Executive Director was recruited by our Board of Trustees and joined Homefirst to bring her housing and family support expertise to the organization.

2009-2011

Acquired 14 more homes for homeless and disabled families through funding from HUD, NJ Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency and private donors. Expanded our homes to communities of Westfield and Scotch Plains. One home includes program space for family support services.

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