Hope House History
In October 2003, a group of over 60 concerned individuals met in Manitowoc to learn more about a concept that would help homeless families in Manitowoc County. A representative from a national non-profit organization, the National Interfaith Hospitality Network (NIHN), spoke at the request of Marj LaBrecque, who had heard of the program successfully helping the homeless in her sister’s community of Minneapolis.
After that gathering, a core group of people who felt an IHN would work and wanted to affiliate with the NIHN, gathered monthly to make it a reality, hopefully within 18 months. Grants were written and volunteers were organized. Funds were raised, a building and van were purchased, and a director was hired. The Lakeshore Interfaith Hospitality Network of Manitowoc County (LIHN) opened at 1203 N. 16th Street In Manitowoc in the winter of 2005. The idea bloomed in less than 18 months after it was presented thanks to area communities that embraced the concept and need.
In 2009, LIHN’s Board of Directors began to investigate the possibility of moving to a static site shelter model. Several members of the LIHN’s Development Committee, along with the director of LIHN, took a trip to Eau Claire, WI to visit another Family Promise that operated with a static site shelter. Upon their return, a decision was made to begin searching for potential sites for the new static site shelter. Several sites were considered, however, the former St. Boniface rectory won the hearts of all. On July 1st, 2010, LIHN made the move to the new site; therefore becoming Hope House of Manitowoc County.