28 Apr First Presbyterian Church of Ambler Donates $300,000 to Purchase “Hope Forest” for Deserving Families
Unique, first-of-its-kind partnership provides opportunity for families to live independently
AMBLER, PA– Surrounded by elected officials and community members, the First Presbyterian Church of Ambler (FPCA) presented a $300,000 donation to the Inter-Faith Housing Alliance during a press conference Thursday, April 28, 2016. The donation was used to purchase a two-unit home at 330 Forest Avenue in Ambler that will provide a new home for two families in transition to self-sufficiency.
“Given the lack of affordable housing and great economic needs in our community, I cannot think of a better way for our congregation to be involved,” said Ryan Balsan, Senior Pastor at First Presbyterian Church of Ambler. “We aren’t just providing the seed money to get this program started-we have made a long-term commitment to be involved with this program and the families who participate.”
The money was raised by members of the First Presbyterian Church of Ambler during a recent Capital Stewardship campaign designed to fund renovations for their church located at 4 South Ridge Avenue in Ambler. As part of the campaign, the congregation set aside $300,000 to purchase the twin home. FPCA partnered with Inter-Faith Housing Alliance because both organizations are dedicated to preventing and resolving homelessness by helping families with safe, decent and affordable housing.
“Despite our many resources, Montgomery County lacks sufficient affordable housing for low-income working families,” said Eichelberger. “Because of the generous gift from the First Presbyterian Church of Ambler, we can help two more families and launch our new supportive housing program for Montgomery County.”
Dozens of community members, board members and elected officials, including Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro, State Senator Stewart Greenleaf and Ambler Mayor Jeanne Sorg attended the check presentation and press event. “It’s amazing what two community organizations can do and how much they will impact two families in Ambler,” said Shapiro. “There is nothing like a place to call home and this will provide the next step in independent living.”
The First Presbyterian Church of Ambler has been a long-time supporter to the Inter-Faith Housing Alliance. FPCA was the first to provide emergency shelter for the homeless when Inter-Faith began in 1982. In 1995, FPCA partnered with Inter-Faith Housing Alliance in building “Hope Gardens” apartments which currently accommodates 25 people that have moved from emergency shelter to transitional housing. . “Hope Forest”, as it will be called, the most recent housing initiative, will provide a home for those close to complete self-sufficiency.
“The power of this partnership will reap benefits for years,” said the Honorable Jeanne Sorg, Ambler Mayor. “This residential partnership is among the first-of-its-kind, and it will be able to act as a model for future partnerships impacting the community.”
Settlement on the twin house occurred April 1. No government funding was involved in the purchase of the house which came solely from funds donated by FPCA. But, FPCA and Inter-Faith Housing Alliance need to raise an additional $50,000 for renovations to the home so that two families can move in this fall.
“I am overwhelmed by the generosity of the congregation of the First Presbyterian Church of Ambler and their genuine concern for our neighbors in crisis,” said Senator Greenleaf. “Homelessness is a real problem that is often overlooked in our local communities. We are in dire need of such projects led by organizations like the Inter-Faith Housing Alliance to help families get back on their feet. I commend these two organizations for making such an invaluable contribution.”
Once the renovations are complete, the home will house two families for up to two years until they become self-sufficient. Montgomery County families with children who have successfully completed a shelter program and whose situation has a high probability to be resolved will be selected for the supportive housing program. Renovations are expected to take place over the summer and the families are expected to move in by September 2016.
To donate to the renovation project, go to donatenow.networkforgood.org/ifhasupportivehousing
About First Presbyterian Church of Ambler
The First Presbyterian Church of Ambler was established in 1891 and is made up of over 600 members. Their mission is to grow in the Christian faith, while serving others in the community and abroad. The church believes in making a difference in the community by working with organizations to provide positive life-altering opportunities for those less-fortunate. For more information, please visit the First Presbyterian Church of Ambler on Facebook, or go to their website at www.fpcambler.org
About Inter-Faith Housing Alliance
Inter-Faith Housing Alliance’s mission is to serve God by providing charitable services to persons located in Montgomery County whose life situations have become unstable. These charitable services include homelessness prevention, temporary shelter, guidance in life skills, and assistance in locating appropriate housing opportunities, thus enabling families at risk to remain in or return to independent living. For more information please visit the Inter-Faith
Housing Alliance on Facebook, or go to their website at https://www.fpmontco.org.