Huntington Interfaith Homeless Initiative (HIHI)
The Huntington Interfaith Housing Initiative provides dinner, beds, recreation and breakfast to the homeless in Huntington during the cold months. There is a place for every volunteer in the HIHI program! Help us bring the homeless in out of the cold!
The mission of HIHI is to provide single men and women with a warm, temporary respite as a humane alternative to sleeping on the streets of our town or in the parks during severe cold in the winter. HIHI is based on the belief that all people deserve respect, that dignity is a basic human right and that our beliefs compel us to act with compassion. With that founding principle, the role of HIHI is to convene and organize faith communities to respond to the problem of lack of emergency shelter for the homeless.
HIHI operates from December through March. The compassion, energy and financial support of our Fellowship and the Family Service League were instrumental in setting up this program. It has proven to be a rewarding experience for the nearly 100 members of the Fellowship who cooked, cleaned, did laundry, blew up beds, and simply offered companionship to the tired and hungry individuals who spent Sunday nights sleeping in our social hall. During the past year, shelter was provided for 107 nights to 46 different individuals, the vast majority of them single men, who were fed 321 meals. As many as 25 individuals have been sheltered on any one night.
Calling All Speakers of English!
HIHI needs your help! Many of our guests on Sunday nights have expressed a desire to improve their English. Because they don’t get much opportunity to speak with native English speakers, it’s difficult for them to practice. Starting this month, on nights that UUFH hosts HIHI, we will be offering time for immersion in English, and we need volunteers to help. No teaching skills are necessary, and you don’t need to speak Spanish. All you need is a willingness to engage our guests in a conversation and Fellowship. English immersion will be held most Sunday nights, from 7-9:30. Youth are most welcome. Please contact the UUFH office for more information or to volunteer.
The Huntington Interfaith Homeless Initiative began in response to an urgent situation that developed locally in the winter of 2003-04. The temperatures at that time were dangerously cold, dipping below zero at night. The Family Service League found out at the same time that a group of men and women were living in the woods in Huntington.
The UUFH was the first faith community to respond to the need for shelter for this population, and the project began in the winter of 2004. The project has since become the focus for an unprecedented interfaith effort that brings together 38 congregations which either help house and feed the homeless or provide volunteers to staff the effort.
HIHI welcomes donations and supplies.
Please contact the UUFH office at 631 427-9547 for more information or to volunteer.