History

In 1988, a group of faith-based congregations assembled from across Monmouth County to address the issue of homelessness. From that first meeting, Interfaith Neighbors [IFN] was born.

1988: When Interfaith Neighbors was founded, we concentrated our efforts on helping low-income families by providing subsidies to assist them in avoiding delinquency, foreclosure, or eviction. Today, our Rental and Mortgage Assistance Program continues these principles we were founded on offering assistance with rent arrears, mortgage payments or security deposits in support of working families facing short-term financial setbacks.

1991: Interfaith Neighbors began operating the Monmouth County Senior Meals program. This program provides nutritious meals to seven senior citizen congregate sites across Monmouth County, and delivers approximately 1,100 meals each day to disabled and homebound seniors over the age of 60.

1996: Interfaith Neighbors began a partnership with New Jersey Natural Gas to renovate abandoned homes and build new affordable ones in Asbury Park and Neptune Township. This started an initiative, which turns vacant lots into affordable homes for first time, low-income home owners, puts these properties back on the municipality’s tax rolls, and ultimately improves the community.

2007: Interfaith Neighbors had a plan approved by the NJ Department of Community Affairs (DCA) under the Neighborhood Revitalization Tax Credit Program (NRTC) to revitalize the Westside of Asbury Park. The NRTC Program seeks to support the community by revitalizing housing, supporting social programs, encouraging business growth and strengthening the community in other various ways.

2011: The Business Development Center (BDC) was established to help entrepreneurs grow their current businesses or start new ones. The BDC offers a combination of business support services and incubator facilities. Mentoring is provided by experienced staff to assist aspiring entrepreneurs in achieving their goals.

2013: The Kula Café Training Program opened as a social enterprise addressing high unemployment and the lack of workforce training available in the Asbury Park area. Training and skills development took place in a working eatery, giving neighbors the opportunity to  learn marketable skills while enjoying good food at a fair price. During the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Kula Cafe closed to the public. 

2014: Opening in 2014, the Kula Urban Farm was developed to address the shortage of fresh, affordable produce in the Asbury Park community.  This social enterprise is designed to meet the needs of restaurant owners for locally grown produce, while simultaneously providing a bridge back to employment for local residents with jobs offered at the farm.  The Kula Urban Farm also offers opportunities for community engagement through youth education and adult workshops.

Our Founding Congregations

Without the support of our founding congregations and their commitment to those we serve, IFN would not have grown into the organization it is today. 

  • St. Mary’s Church, Deal
  • Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Atonement, Asbury Park
  • St. Jerome Roman Catholic Church, West Long Branch
  • Monmouth Reform Temple, Tinton Falls
  • Tower Hill First Presbyterian Church of Red Bank
  • First United Methodist Church, Oakhurst
  • Church of St. Anselm, Wayside

The Interfaith Neighbors Network