Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Dianne Faust, who served as an intern in summer 2020 under a fellowship from Sacred Sector, which supports emerging leaders in the faith-based non-profit sector. Dianne applied training from Sacred Sector to help us implement best practices in organizational policy. This is a description of our organization as she came to learn about us while serving here.
Redemption Housing (RH) is a faith-based nonprofit organization founded by Nick Lordi when he saw the rise in homelessness in Philadelphia 15 years ago. Drawing from his experience as a faith-based supervisor for the “Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission,” he started his own re-entry program.” Two years later, Dr. Lori Banfield joined RH as Executive Board of Directors to continue her passion for restorative work by overseeing the operation of the re-entry programming at the Locust House, a “Next Level Program” aimed at helping residents learn to live independently in the community.
The mission of the organization is to bring God’s healing and restoration to those affected by incarceration and homelessness, holistically serving them as they transition back into the community while providing a safe space where they can connect with social services, find meaningful employment, and locate long-term housing. Redemption Housing’s vision is to be a network of recovery homes that provide safe, stable, structured, and sober living arrangements so that residents can be proud of where they live, receive ongoing support, and journey with others who are a part of the program.
Public policy, organizational practices, and public positioning are lived out in many ways in Redemption Housing’s efforts to advocate and lobby on behalf of returning citizens. They live out public policy through bringing awareness to the penal system by protesting against overpopulated jails and asking for early parole for ailing citizens and for those over age 62. Best practices are clearly stated in their organizational documents. More specifically, RH has clearly articulated a strong business plan to establish partnerships with other churches to support the mission of re-entry in their community. Redemption Housing vigorously advocates for residents who cannot afford to live in their homes. They have connected with congregations, corporate sponsors, individual donors, and community grants, who sponsor beds at $400 a month at Redemption Housing, which cover the partial cost of supporting a resident.
One of my learning goals over the summer is to work with Redemption Housing on capacity. RH is operating smoothly and has made great strides in moving its organization forward. However, Redemption Housing is in much need of space to house clients who are leaving prison. Redemption Housing is only interested in specific locations of West Philadelphia. I will be supporting and advocating on behalf of the organization through the connections I have made in this section of the city, by engaging churches that I know who have real estate holdings, hoping to encourage them to form partnerships with RH to increase their capacity in housing.
Dianne Faust is an MDiv graduate of Payne Theological Seminary, Minister at the historic Grace Baptist Church of Germantown in Philadelphia and was a 2020 Sacred Sector Fellow, an initiative of the Center for Public Justice.